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Southampton v Reading: Match Preview
Published : 08 Dec 2012 09:54:57Rss feed
Gaston Ramirez will be available for Southampton's clash with Reading on Saturday despite spending the week in Uruguay.
The 22-year-old returned to his homeland last Sunday on compassionate leave but will be in the squad to face the Royals.
Richard Chaplow and Frazer Richardson are back in training after injury, although the latter is not yet ready for a first-team return.
Defender Jose Fonte knows the pressure is onbut insists the south-coast club will not sacrifice their attractive style in search of victory.
Both sides have struggled since securing automatic promotion from the npower Championship last season and sit in the bottom three heading into the St Mary's clash.
Saints are a place, and three points, better off and know that victory could propel them out of the relegation zone.
The last time Saints faced a fellow struggler they beat QPR 3-1 in west London and Fonte believes such experience stands them in good stead.
"It is a massive game for both of us," the Portuguese centre-half said. "We are aware of the pressure.
"It is going to be an energetic game, tough for both of us, but we look forward to it.
"We have been preparing ourselves very well this week and we have our game plan and we will try and win the game on Saturday.
"It is a lot of pressure [in these kind of games]. You have to try and stay calm and know your game plan well, know your job.
"You know what you have to do and as a team, work hard to get the better of them. It is as simple as that."
Reading striker Pavel Pogrebnyak is a doubt after sustaining an unspecified injury while on reserves duty.
Danny Guthrie should return from a thigh problem, but his fellow midfielders Jimmy Kebe (groin) and Jem Karacan (knee) are definitely out.
Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has undergone shoulder surgery, but manager Brian McDermott is refusing to set a date for his return.
A run of eight points from five games has eased the pressure on Saints manager Nigel Adkins, dropping him beneath his friend McDermott his the sack race.
"I know Nigel really well. He's done a fantastic job over a period of time, performing miracles to get them into this division with two promotions in two years," McDermott said.
"I have nothing but admiration for Nigel, he's a terrific manager. They've invested a lot of money in the summer so they've brought quality."
Southampton 1-2 Reading