Southampton will be eyeing another three points to add to those they picked up so impressively at QPR last week as they entertain an under-performing Newcastle side at St Mary’s. That victory took the Saints to within one point of safety and Nigel Adkins will be sure that another win would further boost his side’s chances of survival.
Adkins has the luxury of a near fully-fit squad to choose from, with only Frazer Richardson and Richard Chaplow possible absentees. However, he may well choose the same starting XI that took victory over relegation rivals QPR, hoping for a repeat display from his front three of Rickie Lambert, Gaston Ramirez and Jason Puncheon.
Alan Pardew returns to the club where he was sacked in August 2010 with a Newcastle side that has just seen their season hit the skids of late. Although qualification into the knockout stages of the Europa League was secured in midweek, the Magpies have one win from their last seven Premier League encounters and currently lie 12th in the table, only five points above the drop zone.
Newcastle will be without the services of winger Hatem Ben Arfa, who suffered a hamstring injury in the midweek European clash against Maritimo. The Frenchman adds to the largest injury list in the Premier League at the moment, joining Shola Ameobi, Gabriel Obertan, Jonas Gutierrez, Yohan Cabaye, James Perch, Dan Gosling and Ryan Taylor in the treatment room, while captain Fabricio Coloccini is suspended. However, out-of-form Senegalese Papiss Cisse should be fit to play.