Southampton v West Ham preview: Charlie Austin hopes to start
Last Updated: 06/02/16 4:40pm
Charlie Austin returns to the Southampton team on Saturday to face a side that passed up the chance to sign him.
West Ham were among a host of clubs interested in signing the striker last summer but were put off by QPR's £15million asking price, while owner David Sullivan had questioned his injury record.
Southampton snapped him up for £4m in January and after scoring the winner at Manchester United on his debut, he will be hoping to make his first start in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Saturday evening.
Austin has shaken off the knock which kept him out of the midweek draw at Arsenal, but full-back Matt Targett will miss out after picking up an ankle injury in training.
Midfielder Steven Davis is also a doubt with a hamstring problem.
Slaven Bilic has been boosted in the striking department with both Andy Carroll and Emmanuel Emenike in the squad for the game.
Carroll is fit after missing four matches with a hamstring injury and new signing Emenike's work permit has come through following his loan switch from Fenerbahce.
Sam Byram hopes to shake off a knock and fellow defender Angelo Ogbonna should be fit after a bout of flu, but Manuel Lanzini and Diafra Sakho (both thigh) are still out.
Southampton have kept three consecutive clean sheets on home soil in the Premier League; they last kept four in a row there in October 2013.
After winning four of their first five Premier League away games this season (W4 D1 L0), West Ham have won just one of the last seven on the road (W1 D3 L3).
Saints have won just one of the last eight Premier League games with West Ham (W1 D4 L3).
The last four Premier League meetings between Southampton and West Ham at St Mary's have ended as draws.
West Ham haven't won both home and away against Southampton in the same league season since 2000/01.
Fraser Forster has saved all 12 shots that he's faced in his four Premier League appearances since his comeback from injury and is yet to concede a goal in these matches. He has kept 17 clean sheets in 34 Premier League games for Southampton, averaging one every other game for the club.
Southampton are doing well again. I was at the Emirates on Tuesday, they rode their luck at times but they dug in to go a fourth game without conceding. This has the makings of a good game, with West Ham in good form, six points adrift of the top four. They'll have the FA Cup replay with Liverpool on their mind but this West Ham team are a good team.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-2
Southampton are Sky Bet's 4/6 favourites as West Ham (9/2) visit St Mary's, with the draw priced at 13/5. The Saints are even-money to record a fifth successive clean sheet and 6/4 to win to nil. Austin and Graziano Pelle share favouritism in the first goalscorer market at 4/1 apiece, while Enner Valencia is considered the visitors' biggest threat at 8/1 to net first.