Southampton will be looking to make it four Premier League games unbeaten and 10 points from a possible 12 when they face Aston Villa on Friday night.
Last weekend’s narrow win over Watford provided a boost for Ralph Hasenhuttl and his men and put a small gap between them and the top-flight relegation zone.
Assessing the form of both sides ahead of this one sees Saints in much the better shape with Aston Villa having lost their last four top-flight fixtures, although the Villans will be determined to change their own fortunes tomorrow.
Ahead of the game, the team news suggests another swing in Southampton’s favour.
Southampton fully fit, Villa missing key players
Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Thursday, Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed that he has now fresh injury concerns as he prepares to pick his starting line-up.
The Austrian revealed that Armando Broja would be back in the squad for Friday after shaking off a minor ankle injury that kept him out of the win over Watford, whilst Jack Stephens is the only longer term absentee and could be set to return in late-December given the original 12 week recovery schedule for his knee injury.
Aston Villa will be without former Southampton striker Danny Ings for this game as injury means the 29-year-old will not be able to face his old teammates. Key Villans defender Ezri Konsa will also be missing as he serves a one-match ban.
Morgan Sanson, Jacob Ramsey and Jaden Philogene-Bidace could all be included in Dean Smith’s squad but Trezeguet, Bertrand Traore and Douglas Luiz are set to be missing.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has many selection headaches once again, with his attacking options perhaps giving most food for thought ahead of tomorrow’s crucial match.
Predicted Southampton line-up
Alex McCarthy; Tino Livramento, Jan Bednarek, Mohammed Salisu, Kyle Walker-Peters; James Ward-Prowse, Oriol Romeu; Stuart Armstrong, Nathan Redmond; Che Adams, Armando Broja