Southampton face Brighton in a vital encounter in the Premier League tomorrow night as both teams look to pick up important points in the race to avoid the drop.
Saints have failed to win in the league since November and have got the perfect chance to end this barren run when the Seagulls visit on Wednesday night.
The hosts come into the game on the back of a narrow 1-0 FA Cup victory over Watford at the weekend as they sealed their place in the last 16 of the tournament.
As for Brighton, they also edged through in the Cup, claiming a 1-0 win of their own as they beat Championship side Middlesbrough.
Saints are unbeaten in their last four matches, claiming two draws and two victories in that time, and have generally been playing much better since the turn of the year.
On the other hand, Brighton are struggling themselves and are looking like they could well be one of the teams to fall into the drop zone in the coming weeks.
Saints have struggled to pick up too many points in front of their supporters this season, with just one league win at home since October, which is something that they will need to improve on.
The visitors have just picked up eight points from their 12 trips on the road, which will give Saints confidence heading into this fixture.
The two sides met at the Amex Stadium earlier in the season, playing out a closely fought 1-1 draw in the Premier League.
Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino has spoken to the media ahead of his side’s game against Brighton, saying that his men need to stay composed in this game, as reported by the club’s official website.
There are two important matches this week but we have to think about the first one. Even if we beat Brighton, there will still be lots to improve on in the future, we have to keep going and keep winning.
Yes, it’s a big match but there will be others. We don’t need just these three points, we need to be patient and consistent. We are on the right path and moving forwards.
He also spoke about his side needing to make their home advantage pay in this fixture adding:
When we are at home, the opponent has to feel that we want to win. We have to put them under pressure and show them quickly that we can take control of the game. The feeling now in the dressing room now is that we are growing, we’ve been working very hard in a difficult situation but the spirit and the character of the players has taken a step forwards.
In defence and attack, on the pitch, off the pitch, our commitment and focus on every detail in training; hopefully this can be the base for the future.
In terms of team news, Saints remain without Charlie Austin. However, he has taken steps in his recovery and is back on the training pitch as he steps up his rehabilitation from a hamstring problem.
Ryan Bertrand limped off with a thigh injury in the win over Watford at the weekend and a late decision will be made on him. Guido Carrillo could also make his full debut after making a late cameo in the cup last weekend. His fitness will be monitored.
As for Brighton, they have no fresh concerns for the game but they will remain without long-term absentees Steve Sidwell, Jiri Skalak and new signing Jurgen Locadia.
I anticipate that this one will be a very tight game due to its importance, with both sides in need of the points at this stage of the season. It could be a nervy night for the St Mary’s crowd.
I think that Saints will win this one 2-0, though, and lift themselves out of the bottom three.