Relegation has helped Southport rebuild - Liam Watson

Liam Watson
Watson led his team to the FA Cup first round with a win over Stockport

Southport manager Liam Watson says their brief relegation from the Blue Square Bet Premier last season has helped the club rebuild.

The Sandgrounders were reprieved after the demise of Rushden & Diamonds and Watson's team are seventh this term.

"It was probably a blessing in disguise for the club and it may have made us take stock of things," Watson told BBC Radio Merseyside.

"We maybe realised what a tough level of football we're actually playing in."

Southport's run of form has seen them only lose once in 14 matches in all competitions, and they are through to the FA Cup first round following Saturday's 1-0 win over Stockport.

The Sandgrounders travel to Kettering on Saturday, the scene of their initial relegation last season, in the knowledge that victory will give them a club record seventh straight away win.

But Watson says the trip to Nottinghamshire will not bring back any unhappy memories.

"People talk about the bad memories, but for me there wasn't any," he continued.

"I was extremely positive and had the faith after the game that we where going to be safe because all the reports were suggesting how bad things were at Rushden & Diamonds.

"We just knew if we stayed out of the bottom three, I thought 100% we'd be safe. We go to Kettering full of confidence and try and make it club record seventh away win on the spin."

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