Southampton will be looking to make it three wins in a row as they travel to Portman Road to face Ipswich Town tonight.
After Saturday’s narrow 1-0 victory over Cardiff City, Saints find themselves three points away from Championship safety, although they do have a game in hand over a number of their rivals.
Ipswich have ambitions of reaching the playoffs this season, and they currently sit in 10th place with 50 points from 35 games, leaving them four points off the top six.
After going down 3-2 at Preston last weekend, Jim Magilton’s side will be looking to get back to winning ways against a Southampton team that are fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table.
Saints’ Head Coach Mark Wotte calls on his players to forget about their back-to-back wins and focus purely on their next opponents.
“Ipswich away is a very important game for us so I don’t want to talk about those two wins anymore. Whatever was in the past is in the past and now we have to concentrate on this game,” he said.
Speaking about Ipswich, Wotte acknowledged that the game won’t be easy, and that Saints will have to be at the races if they are to come away with anything.
“It is a difficult game for us, but we have beaten other teams away from home this season. To do it again everybody has to be 100% focused and not carried away by the last game, this one is totally different and we have to approach it like a cup final.”
Following a recent upturn in form, the Dutchman has admitted that spirit in the camp is high and that his players have reacted positively to his methods thus far.
“We have one goal at the moment and that is to stay in The Championship,” he stated. “I know that we can do it, because if you mix the quality and the right mentality then you get the blend of a winning team or performance.”
Ipswich Town Team News:
Ipswich have some defensive issues ahead of this game, with Ben Thatches ruled out once again, whilst Moritz Volz looks set to sit this one out with a groin injury picked up in the 3-2 defeat at Preston.
Danny Haynes is still sidelined but veteran Ivan Campo returns to the squad following a calf strain.
Kevin Lisbie is pushing for a starting role after impressing when he came on at the weekend.
Player to watch: Richard Wright
The former Arsenal ‘keeper was on loan at Southampton at the tail end of last season, and he received widespread praise from the St Mary’s faithful, with a number of fans claiming that had Wright not been in such impressive form in the Saints goal, then the south coast club would be plying their trade in League One this season.
Southampton Team News:
Saints are boosted by the news that England Under-21 international Adam Lallana has shaken off an injury in time for tonight’s game. The talented youngster picked up the knock during the 1-0 win over Cardiff, but he has declared himself fit for tonight’s match.
Paul Wotton also returns to the squad following a minor injury, and he is likely to take a place on the bench.
Other than that, Saints’ Head Coach Mark Wotte has a fully fit squad and it’s more than likely that the Dutchman will name an unchanged side for the second consecutive game.
Player to watch: Jason Euell
Euell has been in impressive form of late and has formed a strong partnership in attack with Polish striker Marek Saganowski.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Euell got himself on the scoresheet tonight, and Ipswich will have to keep a close eye on him to prevent that from happening.
Match Facts & Stats
In the 57 meetings between the two sides, Saints have taken all three points on 15 occasions.
In this fixture last season, Ipswich kept up their impressive home form, running out 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Jon Walters and Pablo Counago.
Mr. Andy D’Urso (Essex)
With Southampton fresh off the back of two consecutive home wins and with Ipswich struggling for form at home this season, I can only see one outcome.
I predict an entertaining 1-1 draw.
7th March – Birmingham (A)
10th March – Derby (H)