Southampton vs. Preston North End – match preview

After a 2-0 win over Charlton last week, North End face an in-form Southampton side at St. Mary’s tomorrow night. Preston are on something of a run themselves, but with 12 back-to-back home wins, the host’s stats make for some impressive reading.

Since winning promotion to the Championship last year, Southampton sit at the very top of the table, enjoying their best start to a season in over a century. It’s a stark contrast to where they were last year: lingering near the bottom of the League One table. Gaffer Nigel Adkins has managed to turn the club’s fortunes around, recording 38 wins from 54 games in charge, one of which came against a strong Birmingham side last Sunday. Another home win tomorrow evening would up the total of consecutive Southampton home wins to an impressive 13.

Arsene Wenger was rumoured to have shown interest in Saints’ defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, and the 21 year-old could be set to start alongside ex-North Ender Richard Chaplow in midfield, whilst Steve de Ridder and Jonathan Forte are the favoured forwards. At the other end of the pitch, cup-tied Danny Fox is ineligible to start and with Dan Harding still suffering from a knee injury, Ryan Dickson is likely to step in at left back.

Phil Brown is likely to name a similar side to the one he fielded against Charlton, with perhaps a few changes; alliterative defenders Daniel Devine and Steven Smith recently returned to full training and could start at the back in favour of Craig Morgan and Paul Parry, respectively. Youngster Danny Mayor was instrumental in the win over Charlton, and is likely to start again alongside Keammar Daley, whose position in the team I have on good authority. Brown has stated that he is taking no chances with Iain Turner, and so a third consecutive appearance between the sticks for Andreas Arestidou looks a dead cert.

Southampton have won their last 12 games at St. Mary’s, so for Preston to get a result there would be a truly phenomenal achievement and one that would boost the already sky-high morale to no end. By 9:30pm tomorrow, North End may have reached the 4th round of the Carling Cup for the first time since 2002.

– Rory

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