Date: 5th March 2016 at 8:33am
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Southampton will look to get their European aspirations back on track when they host relegation candidates Sunderland at St Mary’s on Saturday.

After picking up 16 points from a possible 18 and conceding none in the process following the return of Fraser Forster from injury, the Saints have lost their last two, including a 2-0 loss to south coast rivals Bournemouth on Tuesday.

Ronald Koeman’s side are now six points behind West Ham, who are in the final Europa League spot, and the Dutchman will know that his team need to start picking up wins if they are to stay in contention.

The club will certainly look back at the same fixture last season for inspiration, the Saints recorded a club-record 8-0 victory against their opponents from the north east.

Meanwhile, Sunderland’s stuttering season continues and they are currently outside of the Premier League relegation zone because of their superior goal difference compared to Norwich City and arch-rivals, Newcastle.

Sam Allardyce’s men drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace in midweek, and Fabio Borini’s last-gasp equaliser could prove to be a crucial come the end of the campaign.

The Black Cats will know they need to start picking up results on the road to aid their survival bid, but they have won just once in their last seven attempts on their travels, and haven’t kept a clean sheet in 14 league matches.

Team News:

The hosts will be without Charlie Austin, who injured his hamstring in the loss against Bournemouth, while in-form team-mate Shane Long will also be missing with a knock picked up in the same defeat.

Foeman could opt to start with out of form duo Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane up front, while Dusan Tadic is also pushing for a place in the starting line-up.

Allardyce will be without Lee Cattermole after he suffered a head injury against Crystal Palace, Jeremain Lens will also miss out but John O’Shea could be fit again following a calf problem.

League Positions: Southampton – 9th (40 pts) ; Sunderland – 17th (24pts)
Previous Meeting: Sunderland 0-1 Southampton (November 7, 2015)
Form: Southampton – WDWWLL; Sunderland – DLDWLD
Key Men: Southampton – Graziano Pelle; Sunderland – Jermain Defoe
Shoot Says: Southampton 2-1 Sunderland

 
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