Out-of-form Bournemouth make the short trip along the south coast to face a Southampton side currently on a four-match unbeaten run.
The Cherries have been on a terrible run of late, while Saints’ satisfactory 1-1 draw at Liverpool last weekend showed that they can, and will, mix it with the biggest sides in the division once again.
Ronald Koeman’s side also dispatched Aston Villa in the League Cup in midweek but despite having not lost since the defeat to Manchester United in September, are looking for their first league win in three games.
Saido Mane, who missed the win over Villa through suspension, will return and provide Graziano Pelle with support. The Senegalese star has contributed to seven goals in his last seven games (three goals, four assists).
As well as scoring goals, Koeman will see this match as an opportunity for his side to keep their first clean sheet in six league games.
Southampton are unbeaten in their last five games against Bournemouth (stretching back to 1958) and have never lost to the Cherries at home. This is the first meeting between the two in England’s top flight.
Eddie Howe has overseen his Bournemouth side lose two successive league matches 5-1 but knows a result in this ‘derby’ will improve morale in the camp.
A change in tactics could be needed from the young manager who’s continued to play attacking football, leaving them at risk on the counter attack.
The Cherries have scored in eight league games in a row and will need lone striker Glenn Murray to continue the streak while they look to tighten up at the back.
For the hosts, Jay Rodriguez and Shane Long are still sidelined, meaning Pelle will again definitely start up front. The big Italian scored on Wednesday and has a league high 36 shots on goal.
Much has been made of the Dorset side’s bad luck on the injury front with Callum Wilson, Tyrone Mings, Tommy Elphick and Max Gradel all out.
And now goalkeeper Artur Boruc is expected to miss the match against his former club with a thigh problem.
Harry Arter started his first competitive match of the season in the midweek Capital One Cup defeat to Liverpool and could be in contention to make his Premier League bow at St Mary’s.
League Position: Southampton – 10th (14 pts); Bournemouth – 17th (8 pts)
Last Meeting: Bournemouth 1-3 Southampton, March 2011
Key Men: Southampton – Saido Mane; Bournemouth – Matt Ritchie
Form: Southampton – DLWWDD; Bournemouth –LWLDLL
Shoot Says: Southampton 2-0 Bournemouth