A south coast derby at St Mary’s sees both sides looking for a strong finish to the campaign


AFC Bournemouth make the short trip down the A31 to face Southampton knowing a win for either side would guarantee Premier League football next season.

Perhaps more so for the Cherries, the match away from the Vitality Stadium is an opportunity to stop the rot and avoid the season gently petering out. The 1-0 defeat to Fulham last week made it one win in five for Eddie Howe’s men. After getting out of the blocks so emphatically at the beginning of the campaign, Bournemouth have somewhat stalled.  With early hopes of being the “best of the rest,” finishing in the top ten and potentially a Europa League spot, the atmosphere around the club has drastically changed.

The man at the helm, Eddie Howe, whose obsessed with progression and harbours ambition for bigger things for himself and the club, the possibility of getting fewer points than last season is certainly a worry. Currently sitting 14th on 41 points, the Dorset based outfit require one more win to match the points tally from the previous campaign.

Image result for hasenhuttl southampton winning

Hasenhuttl has transformed Southampton’s fortunes – Image: StatsBomb

Following a draw at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night, avoiding defeat against the Cherries will ensure the Saints are all but safe in their aim for Premier League survival. Following a number of seasons where the Saints have seemingly been sleepwalking straight into the Championship, Ralph Hasenhuttl has been a breath of fresh air since replacing Mark Hughes in December. Re-discovering the infamous Southampton way of placing trust in youth and being aggressive in their pressing, the Austrian has got the club out of a deep dark hole. Six points clear of the drop, a win against Bournemouth will mean the club can start preparing for a fresh start and an opportunity to not find themselves in the same predicament next season.

Speaking in the pre-match press conference, Hasenhuttl believes the feel good factor has returned to the Saints:

“This is a fantastic situation when you think where we started. We deserve the points we have taken and the feeling now that something is really growing here.”

Team News:

The hosts remain without Michael Obafemi who is ruled out for the rest of the campaign after suffering a re-occurrence of the hamstring injury that has troubled him since last year. Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl also revealed that defensive duo Jannick Vestergaard (groin) and Ryan Bertrand are a concern ahead of the visit of Bournemouth with the latter taking a knock on his ankle. However, the full back’s understudy Matt Targett is back in training. Stuart Armstrong also is a doubt after suffering issues with his hamstring.

Eddie Howe’s side have been plagued with injuries since the turn of the year with a number of key figures out long-term. Lewis Cook, Simon Francis, Charlie Daniels, Diego Rico and Andrew Surman are all ruled out for the rest of the season. Meanwhile a return to St Mary’s for Nathaniel Clyne is in doubt after missing the defeat to Fulham following a consistent hamstring problem.

The Cherries boss will be hopeful of Adam Smith returning to the fold after spending recent time out on the sidelines. Howe was forced to play Junior Stanislas, who himself got injured during the match, at right-back last weekend due to the lack of full-back’s available at his disposal.

Score Prediction: Southampton 1 – 1 AFC Bournemouth


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Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

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