Hull City will take the trip to St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon desperate for a vital three points in their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
Currently two points ahead of Swansea City in the relegation zone with four games left to play, Marco Silva’s side are nervously looking over their shoulder as the battle for the drop heats up.
The hosts’ situation isn’t quite as dramatic as their opponents, sitting in ninth place ahead of kick-off with only West Brom able to be caught between now and the end of the season.
Southampton’s form has been relatively indifferent of late, winning four and losing four of their last nine Premier League matches on their way to mid-table mediocrity.
Back-to-back heavy defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea may have dampened spirits slightly on the South Coast, leaving Saints supporters wanting the season to finish now so they can focus on next year.
Despite winning seven of their last eight home games since the turn of the year, Hull City’s poor away form has prevented them from pulling clear of their relegation rivals below them.
Without a win on the road since the opening day of the season (a run of 16 games), the Tigers have only scored nine times in 17 attempts and only managed five away points from a possible 51 all campaign.
If they are to ease their relegation worries against Southampton on Saturday then they’ll have put right the wrongs and turn their away form around otherwise Swansea could make things interesting.
Nathan Redmond is in contention to return to the starting line-up after coming off the bench in the defeat to Chelsea, with Sofiane Boufal the likely candidate to make way.
A big boost for the visitors is that Oumar Niasse’s initial three-game ban – picked up for his red card against Watford last weekend – has been rescinded, so he will be available for selection on Saturday.
Tigers’ boss Silva is expected to name a more attacking side than the one that beat the Hornets, with Abel Hernandez coming in for Evandro as Hull revert back to a two-man striking system.
Match Prediction: Southampton 2-1 Hull City
Hull City have been a team of two halves this season in their battle for survival; superb at home since Marco Silva’s arrival, but woeful away from the KCOM and this record could continue at St Marys.
Despite being on the end of a 4-2 score-line against leaders Chelsea during the week, Southampton were on top for large parts and looked exciting in possession, knocking the ball around confidently.
The Tigers remain precariously placed just two points above the relegation spots, and with Sunderland coming up next week at home they may just have one eye on that must-win encounter.
The Saints have nothing to play for except from pride, unable to finish any higher than eighth after a disappointing season, but expect a response from Claude Puel’s men after their midweek defeat.