Southampton match preview

Last updated : 12 November 2004 By Keith Allman
The build-up to this week's local clash has been dominated by off-the-field dramas. At our end there's been rumours of Harry being ousted in favour of some Croatian, whilst at the far end of the M27 it's been another week of wonderful soap opera; a 5-2 cup defeat, rumours of Glenn Hoddle and Lowe resigning, fans demanding their money back - it's non-stop excitement.

And it's under these pressurising conditions that we come head to head. For us, there's surely never been a better chance to beat Southampton. They've won once all season, they're in a state of disarray and joint bottom of the table - surely, after all those years of hurt, we're set up for a little bit of revenge? Even more so when you consider that, aside from their already lengthy injury list, their number one keeper Niemi is out injured. Kasey Keller has been brought in on loan at the last minute, although it will be asking a lot for him to instantly gel with his defence.

Of course, we're not without injuries ourselves. But Primus, Quashie, Berkovic and Berger, all who missed the midweek game against Cardiff, are back in contention for the high noon showdown. Berger especially could be a huge player in this match; he's been in devilish form this season and, against a defence as weak and vunerable as Southampton's, could have a field day.

It would be silly to say that we're going to walk in and win this game. If you took out the local derby aspect, then you might look at this game as one that you had to take all three points from; a team in dire on and off-field trouble and who haven't won in ten games. But the thing is, this IS the local derby. Southampton are a touch unpredictable in the big games; despite getting tonked by Watford, only a week earlier they nearly beat Arsenal.

I'm not going to make a prediction - I'd rather not make a rod for my own back and look like a fool after. Needless to say, we'll probably never get a better chance than this to beat them in their own backyard.