Relegation-threatened Cardiff are the visitors to St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon. Kick-off 3.07pm.
With five games remaining in the season, time is running out for this weekend’s opponents as they look to close the gap towards safety in the Barclays Premier League table.
The Bluebirds have the worst away record in the division, with just one win to their name and eleven defeats. A twelfth loss of the campaign could see them fall to the bottom of the pile, provided Sunderland avoid being beaten by Everton this weekend.
Saints remain four points shy of equalling their best ever total points tally in the Premier League, and can take a big step towards that figure with a win this weekend.
This week, the club confirmed the loss of Jay Rodriguez for the rest of the season, with Southampton’s top scorer likely to be out of action for around six months.
That prognosis was a further blow on the back of last weekend’s defeat to Manchester City where Saints were undone by two goals in first half stoppage time from Manuel Pellegrini’s title chasing side.
The loss was the fourth setback in the last eight matches for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, though only one of those came on home soil. The other four games in that eight match run have all ended in victories for Saints.
Cardiff arrive in Southampton without a win here in the last 13 meetings between the two teams in all competitions in Hampshire.
Saints were 3-0 winners in the Welsh capital on Boxing Day, a match where Cardiff failed to register a single shot on target. It also proved to be previous boss Malky Mackay’s last game in charge of the Bluebirds.
Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Cardiff have earned only eight points from 13 matches, having taken 18 from the previous 20.
Both teams have played 33 matches in the Premier League season, and as yet neither side has had a player sent off in that time, whilst Cardiff are the only team not to have conceded nor won a penalty.
If Saints win this game they’ll equal their highest tally of victories in a single Premier League season (14 in 1997/98 and 2000/01).
Please note that the game will kick off at 3.07pm in memory of those who lost their lives in the Hillsborough stadium disaster 25 years ago.
As a mark of respect for the 96 football fans who died at Hillsborough in April 1989, all Premier League, Football League, Football Conference and FA Cup matches taking place on the weekend of 11-14 April will kick off seven minutes later than originally scheduled and will be preceded by a minute's silence.
The match at which the disaster took place, The FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15th April 1989, was ended six minutes after kick-off, at 3.06pm.
SAINTS 1-1 CARDIFF
Jay Rodriguez will miss the first game of his road to recovery from suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament which he sustained in last weekend’s defeat at Manchester City..
Gaston Ramirez and Artur Boruc were both absent last week, but will be pushing for recalls this weekend. Nathaniel Clyne was fit enough to take a place on the bench as was Victor Wanyama, and both men should be available on Saturday. Kelvin Davis and Maya Yoshida are also long-term knocks.
Cardiff will be without midfielder Craig Noone, who has been ruled out until the end of the season through injury.
“It’s clear that Jay [Rodriguez], since our arrival at Southampton, has been a vital and really important player, but now it’s the turn of other players to step in and take over from him.
“We have a short squad and we don’t have a massive amount of players and we’ve sustained quite a few injuries through the season.
“So, in these last few games, a lot of players are going to have opportunities to get some good playing time.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer:
"It did hurt them what happened last week. We didn't see that performance coming.
"Last game, we were lacklustre, lacked belief and the air went out of our balloon.
"You galvanise everyone, galvanise yourself find something in your stomach and fight."
Prior to this season, our last meetings with Cardiff came in the 2011/12 promotion winning campaign from the Championship. It was a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s as Rickie Lambert’s second half penalty kept Saints’ promotion bid on track after the hosts had trailed to Craig Conway’s 36th minute strike past Kelvin Davis on the last day of the 2012 January transfer window.
The Bluebirds have not won a league game in Southampton in 12 attempts. You have to go back to 1962 for the Welsh side’s last triumph here – a 5-3 victory in the old Division 2.
This was a fixture for four consecutive seasons in the Championship with Saints winning three and drawing one of the four meetings at St Mary’s between 2006 and 2009, though Cardiff got the better of Southampton in all of the reverse matches in the Welsh capital.
Saints were last winners here against Cardiff in 2009 when a David McGoldrick penalty was enough to secure a 1-0 success for the hosts.
Overall, Saints have faced Cardiff in 45 competitive fixtures. 16 of those have gone the way of Southampton, 17 have ended in wins for the Bluebirds and 12 with honours even.
Jon Moss will referee Saturday’s game, and he will be assisted by Mr S Bennett and Mr S Long. Mr K Woolmer is the fourth official.
Tickets remain on General Sale with availability for Saints supporters in Block 43 of the Northam stand. Buy tickets online, over the telephone or in person at the Ticket Office.
Be aware of ongoing rail engineering works taking place on weekends at Southampton Central. Click here to check which lines are affected.
You can listen to live commentary courtesy of BBC Solent on Saints Player, where you can keep up to date with all the stats and scores from around the country.
Mauricio Pochettino and Paulo Gazzaniga spoke to Saints Player ahead of the game, and you can watch their interviews, as well as the manager’s press conference in full on our video channel before the game.
And if you’re coming to the game, don’t forget to take your smartphones and join in with #MarchingIn on our social media channels. Tweet us @SouthamptonFC or comment on our official Facebook page and upload images onto Instagram with the #MarchingIn for a chance to appear in a future edition of our Matchday Magazine.