Southampton squad will evolve after promotion - Nigel Adkins

By Nabil HassanBBC Sport at St Mary's

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins says he is already looking for players to improve his Southampton squad after they earned promotion to the Premier League on Saturday.

The Saints ended their seven-year top-flight exile in style, beating Coventry 4-0 to clinch the Championship's second automatic promotion place.

"We are always looking at the evolution of the squad," Adkins told BBC Sport.

"Next season we will need a certain calibre of player."

Adkins has led the club to back-to-back promotions since being appointed in September 2010 and, while he is proud of his players' achievements, he said he will need to strengthen his squad.

"We are working diligently to find players who will improve us and who are better than the ones we have," he said.

"It is natural evolution and we will work hard in the summer to improve the squad.

"But it's a fantastic achievement and, when the fixtures come out, that is when it will really sink in.

"A lot of people have put a lot of hard work in here - the players deserve all the plaudits they'll get. Everyone at this club has worked their socks off since I've been here.

"Southampton are back in the Premier League and I'm a happy man - I'm proud and honoured."

Saints midfielder Dean Hammond, who has been at the club since 2009, was also delighted to achieve promotion back to the top flight and praised the character of the team.

"We worked so hard this season, we deserve this - it's an amazing feeling," he said.

"What a group of lads. I'm close to tears. To do it here in front of our home fans is amazing.

"Everyone wants to play in the Premier League and now we've got a chance to do it.

"At the start of the season no-one believed we could do it. We did and now we are celebrating promotion. I'm so happy."

"It's unreal," added keeper Kelvin Davis.

"It's been a fantastic, fantastic season. As players, we've played a style of football we've enjoyed playing. We played it again today and it got us four goals and a clean sheet."

Davis was also keen to ensure Adkins got his share of the praise, with the manager so often keen to deflect it on to others.

"He's done brilliantly since he's been here. He's very calm, very collected, and his preparation is second to none," he said.

"He lets the lads manage themselves as well, we've all got a voice and if we've got something to say we can say it. He's a good communicator. He deserves everything he gets."

Davis, who had a spell in the top flight with Sunderland in 2005-06 but endured a difficult time, added that he cannot wait to return.

"It's the top division, it's where we all want to play and try our skills and see if we can deal with it," he said.

"I for one feel like I have unfinished business in there, and my message to the lads is just to grasp the opportunity."