A compliment Hoolahan would rather do without

PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 February 2010 | UPDATED: 17:02 10 September 2010

Wes Hoolahan says his man markers are paying him a compliment - but that doesn't alter the fact that they get on his nerves. The perfect example came a couple of weeks ago at Millwall, when Jimmy Abdou did the perfect spoiling job - the reminder of which brings a rueful smile to Hoolahan's face.

Wes Hoolahan says his man markers are paying him a compliment - but that doesn't alter the fact that they get on his nerves.

The perfect example came a couple of weeks ago at Millwall, when Jimmy Abdou did the perfect spoiling job - the reminder of which brings a rueful smile to Hoolahan's face.

“It is a bit frustrating, but you just get on with it,” he said. “Obviously it opens space up for other players to exploit and if it does happen hopefully the other players can get on it. It's a compliment in itself - I don't like it. I would rather have a bit of freedom on the ball.”

Southampton aren't expected to send out an attack dog to do a job on Hoolahan this afternoon, and that, coupled with the prospect of a return to Gary Kemp's excellent Carrow Road playing surface, could mean we see a lot more of the little Irishman.

“At this time of the year the grounds seem to cut up a lot and the playing surfaces aren't great, but we're back to Carrow Road and hopefully we can play some good football and get a good result for a big crowd,” he said.

“Southampton have a good team and they have a good strike force like us, probably the same, so hopefully it will be an entertaining game, but hopefully we can get three points.”

Hoolahan is hoping to end a goal drought stretching back eight games to the home game against Millwall on Boxing Day.

It's a run which wouldn't have raised a second glance in previous years - but 13 goals in his first 24 league and FA Cup appearances have made this a special season.

Not that it bothers him.

“As long as I keep playing well and making goals and the team is winning, that's most important,” he said. “The goals will come and hopefully when they do come I'll get a few. I always thought I had goals in me. Playing in the position I am, I get a lot of opportunities to get goals. Playing left wing gives me more chances to create and you are more up and down, but this year I have had more time on the ball to have a shot and make things happen.

“I have scored a few times at Carrow Road this season so hopefully I can get one.”

If not, there are plenty of other candidates, on both sides.

“They have a great strike force, with (Rickie) Lambert and (Adam) Lallana who is very good, and we have a great strike force as well in Chrissy and Holt who are scoring for fun, so it will be an entertaining game.”

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