Southampton are looking to get back to winning ways by dumping Sunderland into the relegation zone when they meet at St Mary’s on Saturday.
Five wins out of six between January and February saw the Saints climb the league standings, but they have now lost back-to-back against Chelsea and south-coast rivals Bournemouth, and be desperate to get back to winning ways against the Black Cats.
Sunderland are outside the bottom three on goal difference alone, and anything less than a win could see them tipped over the precipice. Fabio Borini’s late equaliser saw them salvage a point against Crystal Palace in midweek, but just one win in their last seven matches means that the Black Cats are once again firmly involved in the relegation battle.
In team news, Southampton could be a bit light in attack with Shane Long (knee), Charlie Austin (hamstring) and Jay Rodriguez (ankle) all out injured, while defender Florin Gardos (knee) remains sidelined for another couple of weeks at least.
Sunderland will be hoping to have experienced defender John O’Shea (calf/shin) available, but manager Sam Allardyce will have to make do without Lee Cattermole (concussion), Duncan Watmore (ankle/foot), and Jeremain Lens (inguinal hernia).