CHRIS Hughton’s Norwich City will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run to eight games when they travel to newly-promoted Southampton in the Barclays Premier League on Wednesday night.
Sebastien Bassong’s last-gasp header secured City a 1-1 draw away to Everton on Saturday, whilst Nigel Adkins’ Saints triumphed 2-0 at home over Newcastle thanks to goals from Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez.
The last time the two met at St Mary’s Stadium was just three years ago in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, in which the Saints advanced on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
Both sides have come a long way since then, with Norwich currently occupying 13th place in the Premier League, and Saturday’s win lifting the Saints out of the relegation zone into 17th position – four points behind City.
BETTING: BET BUTLER
Goalkeeper John Ruddy
is a doubt with a thigh injury, but may still feature depending on the results of a scan. Michael Turner (shoulder) will miss both the Southampton and Sunderland games this week, however defender Russ Martin is fit and available once again. Harry Kane (foot) is still missing after picking up an injury against Doncaster Rovers.
SOUTHAMPTON: Saints boss Nigel Adkins has few injury concerns ahead of the visit of Norwich, with only Richard Chaplow (knock) and Frazer Richardson (hip) doubts for the clash.
LAST LINE UPS:
Everton v CITY
Grant HOLT (c)
SOUTHAMPTON v Newcastle
MANAGER: NIGEL ADKINS
The 47-year-old former Scunthorpe United manager has emulated Norwich City in guiding the Saints to back-to-back promotions from League One and the Championship in the previous two seasons and is now looking to establish the south coast club as a Premier League force again. Adkins has been backed heavily in the transfer market in the summer, splashing a reported £14M on Gaston Ramirez from Bolonga, as well as signing the highly rated Nathaniel Clyne from Crystal Palace.
ONE-TO-WATCH: RICKIE LAMBERT
With five Premier League goals to his name already this season, 30-year-old striker Lambert has already proved he can cut it as this level, and fired in 31 goals for the Saints last campaign. A former team-mate of Grant Holt’s at Rochdale, the 6ft 2ins front man often draws comparisons to the City captain, and will certainly be one-to-watch on Wednesday night.
Southampton v City
|Southampton wins||Draws||Norwich City wins|
The last time the Canaries came away victorious from St Mary’s Stadium was back in January 2008, when a solitary Ched Evans goal secured a Championship victory. The Saints have the slight edge in terms of all-time results between the two sides, with 37 wins to City’s 31. The last time the sides met in the Premier League was a 4-3 win for Southampton at St Mary’s in April 2005. With the scores 3-3 at half time, a late Henri Camara goal gave the hosts the win late on.
TOP LEAGUE SCORERS
CITY: Grant Holt – Three league goals
SOUTHAMPTON: Rickie Lambert – Five league goals
MOST LEAGUE STARTS
CITY: John Ruddy
, Bradley Johnson – 13 league starts
SOUTHAMPTON: Jose Fonte, Adam Lallana – 13 league starts
REFEREE: MARK CLATTENBURG
The man-in-the-middle for Wednesday night’s clash with Southampton is 37-year-old Mark Clattenburg – his first fixture since Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Chelsea in October. The Tyne and Wear-based referee has taken charge of City and Southampton once this season – Norwich’s 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers, and Southampton’s 2-2 draw with Fulham. Last season he sent off Grant Holt for two bookable offences in City’s 2-1 win over Wolves at Carrow Road.