Southampton prove that home is where the heart is
They say home is where the heart is and for Southampton in 2011 that has certainly proved to be the case.
Nigel Adkins's side go into their final game of the year looking to end it unbeaten at St Mary's in the League.
Their home league record is formidable: played 23, won 21, drawn two.
Only Blackpool and Notts County have come away from Southampton with anything to show for their efforts and it is a statistic which positions Adkins's side for a possible successive promotion.
It was their home form in the second half of last season that set the foundation for Southampton to make a charge for promotion from League One.
And with 23 games gone in the current campaign, it is Southampton's unbeaten run at home that has seen them move to the top of the Championship table going into the new year.
Victory over Bristol City on Friday will cement their superiority and will see them complete 12 months of League fixtures without defeat in front of their home support.
Saints defender Jose Fonte, who on Thursday committed his long-term future to the club, said the record is one of huge pride to the players who are determined to see the year out unbeaten.
"St Mary's has become a tough place to visit and we are proud of that," Fonte told BBC Radio Solent.
"We want to win every game at home and keep this run going."
The ultimate prize for Southampton is promotion to the Premier League and Adkins called the past year "magnificent" hailing the support of the fans as integral to their success at St Mary's.
"The players have been absolutely magnificent and the supporters have been fantastic. They've got behind the players," Adkins told BBC Radio Solent.
"We've had a promotion, played some great football at home, have scored a lot of goals and it has been very entertaining."
The good times have certainly returned and Adkins is determined for the momentum to continue heading into 2012.
"Everyone has got a smile on their face, everyone is working very hard for the same common cause," he said.
"We've had the endeavour to score goals and entertain the supporters.
"You are going to have ups and downs but you need to be consistent and I think over the course of the year the players have been outstanding."