We go into the game in remarkable form away from home. Since losing to Birmingham to a late goal at St. Andrew's in November we've won five out of six on the road with the only reverse coming at Leeds when we were just minutes away from another win.
|Martin Paterson could be back|
The current form is such that we would probably prefer playing away from home than at home where we just can't seem to get the wins we need to push us up into that top six.
Wins have not been a problem away from home this season, or indeed in the last year or so. Starting with the win at Portsmouth in January last year we've won 13 of 25 away league games but tomorrow brings possibly the toughest test yet against the team with the best home form so far this season.
It's going to be another cold one looking at the forecasts but no matter what the great British weather throws at us the conditions cannot be as bad as they were last week for that home game against Peterborough.
The game was spoiled by it, just as the previous home game had been against Derby which was played in almost gale force winds.
It will be cold tomorrow but hopefully everything will be fine other than that at a ground where we haven't experienced defeat. Our first visit there was in 2005/06 season on the weekend when Harry Redknapp, he of court cases and England jobs, walked out. Ade Akinbiyi scored that day for us in a 1-1 draw.
Since, we've drawn twice and won once, the win coming in the penultimate away game of the 2007/08 season with a Steven Caldwell goal.
Ade and Caldwell won't be there tomorrow but it looks as if we will be edging that bit closer to full strength with the potential return of Martin Paterson. Having returned from that long term thigh problem with a substitute appearance against Portsmouth in December he suffered a hamstring injury at Middlesbrough four weeks ago.
It was reported during the week that he was winning his battle and could certainly be back in the squad tomorrow. I'd expect him to be on the bench with Charlie Austin, who has scored four goals in four games against Southampton for Swindon and Burnley, up front with Jay Rodriguez.
I expect the starting line up to be close if not the same as that which drew with Peterborough last week.
We could line up: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Ben Mee, Ross Wallace, Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Josh McQuoid, Charlie Austin, Jay Rodriguez. Subs from: Brian Jensen, Brian Easton, Marvin Bartley, Keith Treacy, Zavon Hines, Martin Paterson.
Our Opponents - Southampton
The size of our task tomorrow can be seen by looking at Southampton's home record. So good is it, or was it until 2012, that it almost became accepted that they would win.
Notts County held them to a 0-0 draw on 15th January 2011 in a League One game and they then proceeded to win every single home league game up to and including a 2-1 home win against Hull on 29th November 2011.
The winning run came to an end in the next game when Blackpool drew there 2-2 (and they were winning until Rickie Lambert scored Southampton's second in stoppage time) eleven days later.
Amazingly they've only won once since at St. Mary's, beating Crystal Palace on Boxing Day in the next home game since which they've won one point from three home games.
That point came in a 1-1 draw against Cardiff last time out and followed defeats against Bristol City (0-1) and Leicester (0-2).
It doesn't disguise the fact that this is going to be difficult. No team goes so many games without dropping at home without being a good team and we know all too well from how they came back against us at the Turf earlier in the season to earn a draw.
They were top of the league during August and, after a week in second place, went back to the top on 18th September and remained there until three weeks ago. They are still in second place, their lowest position all season, but are now four points behind West Ham.
One thing they are good at is scoring goals. They've notched 51 this season in the Championship which is four more than the second highest scorers Leeds United.
Everyone knows about Rickie Lambert. He's the league's leading scorer with 16 goals although 6 of those have come from the penalty spot. Without the penalties he's alongside two other players in tomorrow's game. Team mate Guly Do Prado also has ten as has Jay Rodriguez (11 with a penalty).
To add to their firepower, they signed Billy Sharp in the January transfer window. He came on as a substitute last week but could well get his first start tomorrow, partnering Lambert up front.
Nigel Adkins has spoken about having virtually the whole of his squad to select from and that will include three ex-Clarets. Whilst Richard Chaplow hopes to be involved in a league game for the first time since Boxing Day, we can certainly expect to see both Danny Fox and Jack Cork in their team.
Last time out in the league they drew 0-0 at Birmingham and their team for that game was: Kelvin Davis, Frazer Richardson, Jose Fonte, Aaron Martin, Danny Fox, Adam Lallana, Jack Cork, Morgan Schneiderlin, Jason Puncheon, David Connolly, Rickie Lambert. Subs not used: Bartosz Bialkowski, Dan Harding, Dean Hammond, Guly Do Prado, Billy Sharp.
Last Time We Were There
Our last visit to St. Mary's was on the penultimate Saturday of the 2008/09 season. A win would have seen us with a guaranteed play off place but in the end we twice had to come from behind to earn a 2-2 draw.
There were no complaints at the result. We hadn't played well and it took a top performance from Brian Jensen to ensure we at least came home with something.
Pre-match we had the Southampton fans shaking buckets at us to save their club. Like their Hampshire neighbours they managed to go into administration, take the ten point penalty, get relegated, pay next to nothing in the pound and then come back even stronger with a new owner. Well, apart from the stronger bit, their neighbours don't seem to have done that.
|Clarke Carlisle got the second|
On that day they were looking desperate but on the pitch they came up against a poor Burnley side. We'd beaten Sheffield United 1-0 at the Turf five days earlier but I described this performance as being more like one of the two we'd reserved for Sheffield Wednesday that season.
It took Southampton 11 minutes to go in front, and they were unfortunate not to already be in front. Bradley Wright-Phillips got it with a deflected shot but for the twenty minutes after that they really should have gone on and just about ensured the points.
We got back into it with a penalty just past the half hour, expertly taken by Graham Alexander and you sensed we were would take command against the relegation outfit. Not so, and a mistake from Chris Eagles right on half time allowed David McGoldrick to restore their lead.
We'd been poor with two players, Rhys Williams and Eagles, having nightmares. Eagles was spared at half time but Williams remained on the pitch. We did start a little bit better but then Williams, continuing his horror show, needlessly gave away a penalty.
The Beast came to the rescue to save the spot kick as Michael Duff was finally brought on for Williams.
For the next quarter of an hour we took control. A ball played in by Robbie Blake led to the ball dropping in the six yard box. Clarke Carlisle gleefully scored to bring us level again. At that point we looked likely winners but we allowed Southampton back into the game and in the end were thankful of the point.
That would be enough provided Birmingham didn't lose in the teatime game at home to Preston. They went in front too but with just over twenty minutes remaining Paul McKenna equalised for North End.
We were still OK but in the last minute some bloke by the name of Ross Wallace scored a screamer from a free kick, promptly took his shirt off and was sent off, but meant we needed to get something to be certain the week after. It all ended well, as we all know now. Thankfully, we didn't turn in another performance like this.
The teams were;
Southampton: Kelvin Davis, Lloyd James, Jan-Paul Saeijs, Chris Perry, Andrew Surman, Adam Lallana (Ryan Smith 77), Paul Wotton, Simon Gillett (Marek Saganowski 72), David McGoldrick (Morgan Schneiderlin 90), Bradley Wright-Phillips, Jason Euell. Subs not used: Tommy Forecast, Zoltan Liptak.
Burnley: Brian Jensen, Rhys Williams (Michael Duff 63), Clarke Carlisle, Steven Caldwell, Christian Kalvenes, Graham Alexander, Chris Eagles (Jay Rodriguez 45), Wade Elliott, Chris McCann, Robbie Blake, Martin Paterson (Joey Gudjonsson 83). Subs not used: Diego Penny, Kevin McDonald.
Previous Games against Southampton
|Last 20 Years|
Click HERE to see all previous results against Southampton