Southampton welcome West Bromwich Albion to the Premier League on Saturday, looking to build on their midweek win against Watford and possibly move into the top half of the table.
The Saints’ 2-0 win over the Hornets leapfrogged them above the Baggies who recorded a credible result of their own, rescuing a late 2-2 draw at Chelsea courtesy of James McClean’s 83rd-minute strike.
Victory over Quique Sanchez Flores’ side was also just their second in eight league matches and ended a run of three successive defeats in all competitions for Ronald Koeman’s men, who faltered after a promising start to the season.
Although Crystal Palace left with a 2-1 win in the FA Cup last weekend, Southampton have won their last two home league matches, including an impressive 4-0 win against Arsenal.
Tony Pulis’ visitors have been difficult opposition for the South Coast side recently, losing just two of their last seven outings against them; last season’s encounter at St. Mary’s ended goalless.
However, the Baggies have failed to score in their last two visits, and it also finished 0-0 when the two sides met at the Hawthorns in September.
Moreover, the Midlands outfit have not won away from home in the league since October – a 1-0 triumph at Norwich City.
Shane Long netted his third goal in as many home games on Wednesday, but his place up-front against his former club could be threatened by Graziano Pelle who returned as a substitute on Wednesday after injury.
Fraser Forster also came back into the side after a lengthy setback – his start was the first in the senior side since breaking his kneecap against Burnley last March and, with Maarten Stekelenburg nursing a tight hamstring, the England stopper is likely to keep his place.
Victor Wanyama returns from a two-game ban but may have to settle for a place on the bench after the team played so well in his absence in midweek.
Midfielder James Morrison is sidelined for the Baggies with a, while Jonas Olsson, also hamstring, will have a fitness test.
SC Angers midfielder Cheikh N’Doye is reportedly subject of a £7.5 million Baggies bid, but any deal will not be completed before the weekend.
Meanwhile, Rickie Lambert will also be hopeful of starting against the club he helped rise into the top-flight. The 33-year-old striker netted 117 times for the Saints between 2009 and 2014.
League Positions: Southampton – 12th (27 pts); West Bromwich Albion – 13th (27 pts)
Previous Meeting: West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Southampton, September 12, 2015
League Form: Southampton – LLWLLWL; West Bromwich Albion – DLLWWD
Key Players: Southampton – Sadio Mane; West Bromwich Albion – James McClean
Shoot Says: Southampton 1-0 West Bromwich Albion