Southampton v Huddersfield preview: Saints wait on Cedric Soares ahead of mid-table battle
Last Updated: 23/12/17 1:55pm
Southampton host Huddersfield on Saturday with both sides desperate for a win that would lift them further away from trouble.
Southampton are without a win in five - their last success being a 4-1 demolition of Everton at the end of November - and although look relatively safe in 12th, they are only three points above the relegation zone heading into the weekend.
Their opponents are one place and three points above them having overcome a sticky November, in which they lost 4-0 to Bournemouth and 5-0 to Arsenal, to register wins over Brighton and Watford in two of their last three games.
The 4-1 win at Watford last weekend prompted boss David Wagner to say Premier League survival for his side was now a "belief" rather than a "hope".
The reverse fixture at the end of August was a disappointing goalless draw.
Cedric Soares is Mauricio Pellegrino's only big injury worry after he came off injured against Chelsea last weekend following a nasty collision with the advertising boards.
Ryan Bertrand also limped off during Southampton's 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge but could still feature against Huddersfield on Saturday.
Huddersfield's emphatic 4-1 win over Watford last weekend came at a cost as Elias Kachunga misses out due to a knee injury sustained in the game while Jonathan Hogg is suspended following his red card.
Also unavailable for selection are Phillip Billing (ankle), Jon Gorenc Stankovic (knee) and Michael Hefele (Achilles) but Chris Lowe could be available despite coming off last weekend with a foot injury.
Southampton have won their last three home matches against Huddersfield in all competitions, scoring 13 goals and conceding just once.
Huddersfield's last top-flight visit to Southampton is also the last time they won away from home against the Saints, winning 2-1 at the Dell in September 1971.
Saints have won just one of their last nine Premier League games (D3 L5) and are winless in their last five (D2 L3).
Southampton have lost just one of their last 26 home Premier League games against newly promoted sides (W17 D8), losing 0-1 against Cardiff in April 2014.
Huddersfield's 4-1 win at Watford last weekend ended a run of seven consecutive away Premier League games without a goal (D1 L6). Both of their away victories in the Premier League have been by a three-goal margin (3-0 vs Crystal Palace).
Charlie Austin has had a hand in six goals in seven previous league appearances against the Terriers (four goals, two assists).
Laurent Depoitre has scored two goals and provided an assist in his last two Premier League games - this after netting just twice in his first 13 in the competition.
So hard to predict. Huddersfield can't score an away goal for toffee and then go and score four at Watford. Southampton were excellent in the first half against Arsenal, but have been pretty poor since. However, I think Southampton are better than they have been recently. You have to play Charlie Austin. When he came off the bench against Chelsea he was the only one who looked like scoring. He puts the ball in the back of the net.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (11/2 with Sky Bet)