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Southampton to place trust in academy - Reed

Southampton sporting director Les Reed says the club will rely mainly on academy products next season, should they be faced with the extra games that UEFA Europa League qualification would bring.

Ronald Koeman's side have coped admirably with a pre-season overhaul, which saw the Dutchman appointed as Mauricio Pochettino's replacement while a number of key players departed.

With three games remaining, Southampton look well placed to at least seal a play-off berth for a return to European competition for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign.

The added fixtures in the Europa League are seen as a burden in some quarters, but Reed feels the club are equipped to deal with the extra workload.

The likes of James Ward-Prowse, Harrison Reed and Jake Hesketh have all come through Southampton's youth set-up to make their first-team debuts in recent seasons and Reed is seeking a continuation of that tradition at St Mary's Stadium.

"I think there's a lot of mythology around the Europa League. I think it's a good excuse for managers to say 'isn't my job hard'." Reed told Perform at the Sporting Directors' Summit at the Etihad Stadium.

"I don't see the difference between playing Wednesday in the Champions League then Saturday in the league, and Thursday and Sunday.

"It's probably between four and six more games, Championship clubs do that every week and they haven't got the resources.

"So I think it's manageable. Yes, you want a bit more strength, but what we've built is an academy that supplies players to the first team so we'll get our strength in depth from that.

"We'll tweak the team in terms of balance and we've got loan players we need to convert or replace, so that's more likely to be the type of activity we have in the transfer market."