18th meets 19th at St Marys’ as Southampton look to potentially climb out of the relegation zone with victory over fellow newly-promoted Reading.
Nigel Adkins’ Saints have been impressive at home of late, losing only once (against Tottenham) in six Premier League outings. Contrastingly, Reading are winless away from home so far in the Premier League and have only taken from two points from their seven trips.
Southampton can call upon star midfielder Gaston Ramirez despite his week-long absence in Uruguay on compassionate leave, while Danny Fox and Richard Chaplow are also available for selection after recovering from injuries. However, the game comes just too soon for long-term injury-victim Frazer Richardson, who is lacking in match fitness despite his return to first-team training.
Reading could be without striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, who picked up a knock playing the club’s Under-21 side in midweek. Brian McDermott has also been hit by the news that first-choice goalkeeper Alex McCarthy will be missing long-term due to a shoulder injury so Adam Federici will continue in-between the sticks.
Elsewhere, former Newcastle midfielder Danny Guthrie finally returns to the squad but Jem Karacan, winger Jimmy Kebe and Chris Gunter will all miss the trip to the south coast with knee, groin and hamstring injuries respectively.