Southampton v Burnley preview: Danny Ings could make debut
Last Updated: 12/08/18 2:13pm
Mark Hughes could hand Danny Ings his Southampton debut at home to former club Burnley on Sunday (kick-off 1.30pm) after the striker joined on Deadline Day.
The Saints managed to secure the services of Ings on a season-long loan on Thursday and the 26-year-old is desperate to get his career back on track after an injury-plagued couple of seasons on Merseyside.
Southampton struggled for goals last term with Ings set to compete with Charlie Austin for a starting berth, while Hughes is in favour of the window being closed before a Premier League ball is kicked.
"Now the window is shut you know exactly what you have got - there might be players going out on loan if clubs allow it or European clubs coming in," he said.
"Our stance and is that we will decide who goes out, there won't be anyone coming in with bids.
"From a management point of view, knowing that you have a group to work with on the first day of the season is a good thing.
"Players always place too much significance on who plays in the first game of the season - if they are not in that first XI, they think 'I need to move' and they get agitated, so you get two or three weeks of nonsense really."
Burnley head to the south coast after holding Istanbul Basaksehir to a 0-0 draw in Turkey in the Europa League third qualifying round.
The Clarets signed Joe Hart, Ben Gibson and Matej Vydra during the summer transfer window, but manager Sean Dyche admits he is pleased to see the back of it.
"It's been the worst I've experienced, the hardest, the worst," he said. "Even some of the big, big clubs haven't got the player they wanted, very difficult.
"And even more for us - we're spending pretty decent money now, if you're looking at £10m and £15m, that's decent money, and yet you can't scratch the surface.
"We have a model, everyone knows that, and I'm not crying it in, I would spend everything if we had it, but it's very difficult, even when you have money."
Hughes has confirmed that Ings is available for the visit of Burnley and that his fitness will be assessed in training.
Angus Gunn, Jannik Vestergaard, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Stuart Armstrong could all feature following summer moves.
Hughes confirmed that Southampton have a fully fit squad after Cedric Soares reported back to training on Monday following illness.
Dyche will have a decision to make in Burnley's goal. Hart made his debut and kept a clean sheet in Thursday's Europa League draw in Istanbul but Tom Heaton has now recovered from a calf injury.
Last season's No 1 Nick Pope is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after an operation on his dislocated shoulder.
Striker Chris Wood could return after missing out on Thursday with an infection while defender Ben Gibson will hope to make his debut after moving from Middlesbrough. Fellow signing Matej Vydra may have to bide his time while Robbie Brady and Steven Defour are out.
- Southampton are without a win in their last three league meetings with Burnley (D1 L2), netting just one goal in total in those games, this after winning both of the previous two (2-0 and 3-1).
- On home soil, Southampton have suffered just two defeats in their last 16 league meetings with Burnley (W8 D6), although one of those losses came last time out at St. Mary's (0-1 in November 2017).
- 10 of the 11 goals scored in the six Premier League meetings between Southampton and Burnley have come in the second half, including each of the last nine in a row.
- Southampton have never won their opening Premier League fixture when it's been played on a Sunday, drawing two and losing three.
- This is the first time in their history that Burnley are playing their first game of a top-flight season on a Sunday.
- In last season's Premier League, Burnley won a league-high share 52% of their points in away games (28/54).
- Southampton have won two of their last four Premier League games (D1 L1), as many as they had in the previous 25 (D11 L12).
- Southampton striker Charlie Austin has scored four goals in his four Premier League appearances against Burnley. Against no other side has he scored more in the competition (also four vs Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion).
I'm going to go with Southampton here. Burnley have got a lot of injuries, and they're playing on Thursday.
I think travelling to Turkey and coming back to play away from home at St Mary's will be tough and after last season's struggles, I fancy Mark Hughes to get his players up for this one. It's important they make a winning start.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (8/1 with Sky Bet)