DAVID MOYES believes protests from home fans disgruntled with the sacking of Nigel Adkins will have little impact on his team’s fortunes against Southampton tonight.
The south coast side replaced their former boss with ex-Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino on Friday, but Moyes and his squad are focusing on their bid to stay close to fourth-placed Spurs by taking three points from St Mary’s.
Some Saints supporters want to either boycott the contest in protest against Adkins’ treatment by chairman Nicola Cortese, or make their anger known by chanting during the game.
And although Moyes shares their shock at the decision to replace a manager who had steered Southampton out of the relegation zone, he is concentrating solely on the Toffees.
He said: “I think if they’re going to have a protest it’ll be more in support of Nigel Adkins. I don’t think Southampton supporters can protest the way their club has moved forward in the last two or three years.
“I don’t know the runnings behind the scenes or how much money the new owners have put in to get them to this situation but they’ve got a fantastic new stadium, a good academy set-up which they put money into. So any protest would be supporting Nigel Adkins more than anything.
“It could benefit us but I couldn’t be sure. You don’t know how it works when a new coach comes in. Some players will get a boost from a new manager coming in and there will be a lot really disappointed the old manager has gone.
“I was very surprised (to see Adkins go). I was actually talking to my staff in the week and complimenting how good a job Nigel has done.
“It was always going to be difficult after two promotions. Anyone who does that finds it’s a long way up. It looked as if he had got himself out of the bottom three and was moving up. I don’t think many people were looking at Nigel in that position and thinking he’d be sacked. I thought he had done a really good job.
“The new chairmen that have come into the game, that is what they think is right. As I said I don’t know the business at Southampton; maybe there are other reasons for it. From a distance, looking at it, Nigel has done a really good job. I’m a football guy who knows a lot about football and Nigel has done a really good job.”
Moyes is unlikely to have Kevin Mirallas back fit and ready to start this evening although the Belgian is eyeing a return against West Brom a week on Wednesday, and Darron Gibson is also close to a comeback.
“Darron’s not training yet but he’s due to start very soon,” said Moyes. “Maybe he’ll be OK in the next week or so, we’ll see how he comes through the next week’s training.”