A FORMER Saints coach who was found guilty of sexually assaulting his players is set to be sentenced today.

Bob Higgins is due to appear Winchester Crown Court to be sentenced for 45 counts of indecent assault.

The 66-year-old was found guilty of the indecent assaults following a retrial at Bournemouth Crown Court.

He was found guilty of another count last year.

Higgins touched and groped 24 victims, most of them trainees at Southampton FC and Peterborough United, between 1971 and 1996.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard his status as a “God-like” figure enabled his decades-long campaign of abuse.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Brown, of Hampshire Police, said Higgins was a “predatory paedophile”

Last week, Saints issued an “unreserved apology” to the victims of Higgins.

The Premier League club issued a statement in which it said it was “deeply sorry” that former youth players had been exposed to abuse by Higgins.

The club added it had been instructed by the police not to contact victims during the investigation and said it recognised the lack of contact may have caused “anger and further distrust”.

In a statement, the club promised it would now attempt to engage with abuse victims and family members and extend its own investigation, which will include input from children’s charity Barnardos.