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Southampton V West Brom at St. Mary's Stadium : Match Preview
Updated published : 26 Apr 2013 15:01:29Rss feed
Southampton V West Brom - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Ward-Prowse only absentee for Saints
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has an almost fully-fit squad to choose from when he welcomes West Brom to St Mary's for the Barclays Premier League clash.
Only midfielder James Ward-Prowse, who suffered an unspecified knock in an Under-21 fixture against the Baggies earlier in the week, is absent.
Forward Guly do Prado returns to the squad after missing the trip to Swansea through illness, while full-back Luke Shaw will be pushing for a recall.
A win for Southampton against the Baggies would take them on to 42 points for the season and almost secure another season in the top flight.
But Maya Yoshida wants the team to look at those sides above them and aim to finish as high as possible rather than worry about the scrap for survival below.
"If we get one more point or three points we are almost safe but I think we should put more focus on higher targets," he said. "Don't look at what is under us but look up.
"Many players have signed new contracts like Rickie Lambert, Adam [Lallana], [Artur] Boruc - and if we keep the same players and get new players [in the summer] we will have a big opportunity to get more points and have big ambitions."
West Brom will be without captain Chris Brunt.
The Northern Ireland midfielder picked up a knee injury in the draw with Newcastle and has not recovered in time to feature at St Mary's, but defender Billy Jones should be available despite suffering a gash to his leg against the Magpies.
Peter Odemwingie is fit again after a knee problem while midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu serves the final games of a three-match suspension.
Steve Clarke believes combating the aggressionPochettino has brought to Southampton will be key if West Brom are to get a result at St Mary's on Saturday.
While eighth-placed West Brom have stumbled slightly in recent weeks, winning just one of their last six games, Southampton have moved ever closer to Premier League survival by going unbeaten over the same period.
The appointment of Pochettino following the dismissal of Nigel Adkins, who had led the south-coast club to consecutive promotions, was not universally popular with Saints' fans.
But he has delivered during his three months at the helm, notably with wins over Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Southampton are eight points above the drop zone after their goalless draw at Swansea, compared to the three they were clear when Adkins was relieved of his duties.
And Clarke believes Pochettino has given the Saints a hard edge.
He said: "He (Pochettino) has done well. It is difficult to come in and pick things up halfway through the league season.
"He has got a good group of players and earlier in the season when Nigel was there they played good football.
"I think at that stage the players were searching to find their feet in the Premier League.
"The change of manager has coincided with them finding their feet in the league. They play good football, they are attractive - certainly at home they are dangerous. It is a difficult game for us.
"His team has been a bit more aggressive - something we have spoken about this week and something we have to deal with. You will see the results on Saturday."
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