Southampton take on Reading in a crucial relegation clash at St. Mary’s with both teams eager to secure three points.
The cliché of such games being a six pointer is always reeled out for such occasions, but you may have a legitimate case for using it here.
This will be a match that both Brian McDermott and Nigel Adkins will have looked at on the fixture list as a winnable fixture. They have never faced each other in a Premier League meeting before; yet have competed in important fixtures in the Championship. Last season Reading secured victory at St Mary’s 3-1 in what was a top of the table promotion clash.
Reading have lost their last three Premier League outings and even though this is a concern, there was cause for optimism after the 4-3 defeat to Manchester United last weekend. The biggest concern for the Royals will be that they have conceded 8 goals in these last three fixtures and they will be looking to halt this defensive slide.
Southampton are unbeaten in their last three home outings and will be looking to build upon a positive display at Anfield last weekend where they could have very easily taken a share of the spoils. They also have a relatively clear treatment room at the moment. Frazer Richardson is in training after returning from injury, although he is not yet ready for a first-team return. Gaston Ramirez will too be available after spending the week in Uruguay on international duty.
Brian McDermott on the other hand has had to contend with a number of injuries. Reading striker Pavel Pogrebnyak is a doubt for the game at St Mary’s after sustaining an unspecified injury while playing for the reserves midweek and Danny Guthrie (thigh) Jimmy Kebe (groin) and Jem Karacan (Knee) are definitely not ready to return to action.
You wouldn’t expect this to be a cagey affair with the 29 Premier League matches involving the two clubs this season producing 99 goals, while there have been an average of just over three goals per game at St Mary’s.