Safri back to add missing link

Last updated : 27 February 2008 By Chris C
Safri's four match ban for his second red card of the season was as poorly timed as it was unexpected. Saints knew that he would be absent at least some of the African Cup of Nations, but were given a boost when he returned early after Morocco's unexpected exit in the group stages.

Unfortunately, with his ban he may as well have won the tournament and gone on an open bus tour all the way back for all the good it has done us. Like Matthew Oakley before him, it's only really when he's missing that you notice what an effective player he is.

Along with Andrew Davies, he has arguably been Saints most consistent player this season and was an absolutely bargain at a nominal fee from Norwich. With his ability to pass, tackle and protect the defence he has been the lynchpin of the side and his return could not come at a better time with Saints on a downward spiral in the League.

Saints have struggled to retain possession and his quality on the ball allows the likes of Surman and Idiakez to exchange passes and open up defences after some ineffective performances in recent games.

Saints' midfield has lacked balance of late with our various managers all struggling to reshuffle the back with Euell and Idiakez notably failing to fill Safri's boots in the holding position.

Ipswich at home presents a stern test, but Dyer aside, Pearson has a nearly fully fit squad and another full week's training to make his mark. Let's hope that Safri's return is the missing ingredient to get our underperforming squad playing again.