Bottom of the table Southampton have dubbed their clash with Aston Villa at St Marys as effectively the beginning of their Premier League season after their opening four games, which included matches against big guns Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal yielded nothing in terms of points.
No team has ever survived in the Premier League having lost their first three games, let alone four but Nigel Adkins’ side have spent big this summer and could give their record signing Gaston Ramirez a full debut after he came off the bench in last week’s 6-1 thrashing at Arsenal.
Elsewhere, Jos Hooived, who limped off at the Emirates with a calf problem faces a fitness test and could be replaced by another new Saints signing, Japan international Maya Yoshida. England Under-21 international Jack Cork, who also featured in the Olympics for Team GB, is pushing for his first appearance of the season after overcoming injury.
Aston Villa gave Paul Lambert a much needed first win as Villa boss last week witha 2-0 win over Swansea and will look to build on that promising display on the south coast.
Summer signing Christian Benteke, who scored off the bench against Swansea is in line to make his first start alongside Darren Bent, who has yet to get off the mark in the league this season. Elsewhere, fit-again midfielders Chris Herd and Fabien Delph are available for selection but Mark Albrighton, Richard Dunne and Gary Gardner remain on the treatment table for the Villains.