Stoke V Southampton at Britannia Stadium : Match Preview

01 November 2013 05:31
Stoke V Southampton - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Hughes wants home birthday present

Stoke manager Mark Hughes is looking for an overdue home win to ensure he can really celebrate his 50th birthday.

The Welshman reached his half century on Friday, the day before Stoke take on high-flying Southampton at the Britannia Stadium.

It is a landmark weekend for the club as well as their manager, with Stoke racking up 200 Premier League games, but anything less than a win could see them drop into the relegation zone.

Hughes has been praised for impact he has had on Stoke's style of play since taking over from Tony Pulis in the summer, but he knows results are what matters most.

"I always said at the beginning we'll keep the best elements of what's given success to Stoke in the past and we'll try to add a bit more creative play in the final third if we can," he said.

"To all intents and purposes I think that's what we've done. We've had a hard period, we've played nine games and we've played a number of the top sides in the Premier League.

"Performance wise there's been very few games where I've been disappointed with what we've produced, but we can't keep on saying that and at the weekend we need to get a positive result.

"Victories shape your whole weekend so if I'm going to have a good birthday weekend then we need to win."

Stoke's only home victory in the league this season came against Crystal Palace back in August, with their next three games at the Britannia bringing two points.

Coupled with three away defeats in succession in the league, it means the Potters have picked up just one point from their past five games.

Full-back Andy Wilkinson is a definite absentee for the clash at the Britannia.

Wilkinson, who has played only two games for the Potters this season, is struggling with a knee problem.

Key defender Robert Huth had been a doubt for Stoke's Capital One Cup tie against Birmingham in midweek but recovered from an ankle injury to play the full 120 minutes.

Saints striker Rickie Lambert is hoping his goal against Fulham last weekend can be the trigger for a goalscoring run as Southampton look to continue their fine start to the season.

The 31-year-old forward has scored three times for Saints this season, as well as twice for England, although last week's goal against the Cottagers was only his second for the Barclays Premier League club since the opening day of the season.

It also marked his return to the starting line-up after he was a substitute for the draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

However, Lambert is unconcerned and he told the club's official website: "I have seen some reports but I've had that all my career. And I know that as soon as one goal goes in more seem to follow, so I'm hoping that's the case this time.

"I'm also hoping that people are seeing what kind of role I'm playing because it's not the same role that I've been playing in the last few years, it's changed.

"I'm working a lot harder defensively and I hope people are seeing that, but I'm absolutely enjoying it.

"I want to score because I think that's the best way to help the team and I am trying, but I'm hoping I can go on a bit of a run now."

Southampton travel to the Britannia Stadium in pole position to improve on last season where both games ended in draws, although they snatched a last-minute equaliser in the 3-3 outcome in the Potteries after being two goals adrift and down to 10 men.

Lambert recalled: "We did really well last year and we were unlucky not to win there.

"It was a great game and to be fair to them when they got on top and the fans were on top, it was a great atmosphere, so I'm hoping it's going to be a great atmosphere again on Saturday."

Dani Osvaldo and Steven Davis will be assessed before the trip to the Potteries.

Club record signing Osvaldo missed the defeat of Fulham with a nerve issue down his side, while Davis was unavailable due to a knock.

Guly do Prado is unlikely to make the trip to the Britannia Stadium due to a knee injury.


Source: PA