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Southampton V Stoke at St. Mary's Stadium : Match Preview

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07 Feb 2014 15:31:00

Southampton V Stoke at St. Mary's Stadium : Match Preview

Southampton V Stoke - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Wanyama fit to face Stoke

Victor Wanyama is available for Southampton's clash with Stoke, although Calum Chambers is doubt for the Premier League encounter.


Kenyan midfielder Wanyama has overcome a knock sustained in last weekend's 3-0 win at Fulham - a match right-back Chambers picked up a dead leg, which will be assessed before the match.


Teenage striker Sam Gallagher will not be available following a family bereavement, while Dejan Lovren and Gaston Ramirez (both ankle) remain absent.


Ahead of the game boss Mauricio Pochettino insisted he is happy at Southampton amid links to Real Madrid - although he stopped short of committing his long-term future to the club.


The former Argentina international arrived at St Mary's 13 months ago a relative unknown in this country and facing an uphill battle to win over hearts and minds after the manner in which he replaced Nigel Adkins.


However, Pochettino's high-pressing style and focus on home-grown talent soon won over the doubters, with his stock rising in tandem with Saints' own fortunes.


Southampton were three points clear of the relegation zone when the former Espanyol boss took control and now lie ninth in the Premier League, just five points off reigning champions Manchester United.


That improvement in fortunes led to interest from Tottenham when they disposed of Andre Villas-Boas and reports this week suggest he is on Real Madrid's radar should Carlo Ancelotti leave.


"You all know I am not one to speak about rumours, speak about unrealistic things, intangible things so I really have no comment on that," Pochettino said.


"I also don't like to talk about the future - I am not one to talk about the long-term future.


"Real Madrid are an amazing club, a great club and you never know what could happen in football, but at the moment I am really happy at Southampton and that is my present right now. Nothing else."


Stoke will check on the fitness of forwards Marko Arnautovic and Jonathan Walters.


Both players suffered knocks in last week's victory over Manchester United while defender Marc Wilson is also a doubt after missing some training this week with a chest infection.


Midfielder Steven Nzonzi is available again after suspension but Andy Wilkinson, Matthew Etherington and Robert Huth remain on the sidelines.


Boss Mark Hughes said: "Southampton are a good team. The manager has come in and has a certain way of playing, and he has got good players. They have spent well.


"They are a high-energy team and put you under pressure in your own half, so you have got to make sure you don't concede errors in your own half.


"They can capitalise on that and they have been doing all season.


"We have to be nice and solid and make sure we have a base and a platform to build from, and make sure we are threats going the other way as well."









PA

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