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Premier League preview: Southampton v Manchester City
Feb 08, 2013 2:01 PM GMT
Southampton will hope their relegation resistance can be extended for yet another match, when champions Manchester City visit on Saturday.
Despite the shock sacking of boss Nigel Adkins, the Saints have continued their resurgence up the table with nine points in their past eight Premier League matches.
They have either taken something from their past nine in all competitions or led in those they have lost, meaning there is always a chance Southampton are going to be competitive when they take to the pitch.
That streak of sorts will be put to a tough test, though, when City come to St Mary's - and nothing short of three points will be Roberto Mancini's requirement to keep the champions in the race to defend their title.
More dropped points would all but spell the end of what looks like an unlikely comeback in the league race, with rivals Manchester United some nine points clear at the top.
There is no less than 29 points between the two sides in the table, but that will only inspire the home side to fight harder as they have shown at their own fortress this season, earning 14 of their 24 points there this season.
City have the head-to-head wood on Saints winning their past three against them dating back to 2005, although Southampton more than held their heads up high when leading in the final 20 minutes at the Etihad in their clash there earlier in the season.
They went on to lose 3-2, but Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis will take great confidence from getting on the scoresheet that day heading into the return fixture.
Saints should see Guilherme do Prado (knee) return to the matchday squad, while Gaston Ramirez (knock), Nathaniel Clyne (knock), Luke Shaw (knock) and Jose Fonte (knee) are all likely to miss again.
For City, captain Vincent Kompany remains sidelined by a calf injury, with Micah Richards (knee) also unavailable.