MICK Channon has challenged Saints to ‘hold their nerve’ ahead of the toughest of tests at Manchester City.

The Saints legend is hoping to overcome a bout of sciatica so he is able make his first trip to the Etihad for the clash between two of his former clubs.

But irrespective of the result he believes the club should continue to be patient with Mark Hughes.

Referring to speculation over Hughes’ future, he said: “That’s a load of balls. You’ve gone with it now, get your head down and get on with it.

“You have to be a little patient in most things in life. We have to hold our nerve, we’re that far down the road.

“That would be my message to everyone at the club. Keep working hard and giving it your best shot and eventually things will come right.

“We’re struggling to score goals but we’re making chances and have defended well in the last couple of games so it’s not all doom and gloom. Even against Chelsea we had chances.

“If they didn’t you’d be even more worried but it’s just a matter of time before chances are taken.

“Barren runs go with the territory but Danny Ings has done well and Charlie [Austin] is getting his sharpness back after injuries.

“To stay in the Premiership you have to win games but if you’re making chances some will eventually be taken.

“You have to back them all and keep believing.”

Channon scored 24 goals in 72 games for Man City from 1977-79, between his two Saints spells (157 goals in 391 matches and 28 in 119).

The 69 year-old, who also scored 21 goals in 46 England appearances, has been invited to the Etihad this weekend by City legend Mike Summerbee.

He is desperately hoping his beloved Saints can take something from the match, as they were so close to doing last November.

“I hope I can get up there,” he said.

“It will be interesting, City and Liverpool look like the teams to beat this season so it’s not going to be easy.

“But you never know in these games. Often it’s when teams are underestimated that they put it all together and get a good result.”

Mick Channon will be at O2 Guildhall Southampton with Matt Le Tissier for an ‘Evening of Football’ alongside his fellow Saints legend on November 8 (Doors open at 7pm for 7.30pm).

For tickets please ring 02380632601 or log on to O2guildhallsouthampton.co.uk.