Southampton: After a slip-up against Swansea, fourth-placed Southampton will seek to heap more misery on managerless Queens Park Rangers when they visit the west Londoners on Saturday, bolstered by returns from injury.
The Saints will not be able to unleash new signing Serbian international Filip Djuricic as the midfielder, on loan from Benfica, is still to sort his work permit.
But the good news for manager Ronald Koeman is that combative Kenyan Victor Wanyama and French international Morgan Schneiderlin should both feature after recovering from injuries.
“Little by little we have all the players available," Koeman said. “That’s good news because we need to have that if we want to have a good position come the end of the season,” he added saying key defender Toby Alderweireld was still a week or two away from a return to action.
Southampton dominated the first half last weekend against Swansea but were unable to convert that pressure into a goal, and fell to a late long-range sucker-punch from Jonjo Shelvey. The defeat saw Manchester United leapfrog Southampton into third spot in the league.
“We were very disappointed about the result last week but not about the performance. We played very well in the first half. It’s about creating and scoring goals,” Koeman said. “We need more sharpness in our crosses, chances and in expecting chances, we missed that last week.”
Saints, flying high with 42 points from their 23 matches will fancy their chances at a Loftus Road thrown into disarray on Tuesday when manager Harry Redknapp quit the club, citing a sore knee he said required surgery.
Redknapp, a former Southampton manager, leaves the club somewhat in the lurch second from bottom with 19 points, two more than rock-bottom Leicester City.
QPR’s former England keeper Rob Green hopes a change in management can effect a change in fortunes.
“It came as a surprise to everybody,” he told QPR’s website. “But the fact of the matter is we have to get over it quickly, move on quickly and get ready for Saturday’s game against Southampton.”
QPR caretaker manager Chris Ramsey says a united front is paramount for survival. “The entire focus of those not involved in the recruitment process of a new manager has to be on Saturday,” he said, “It’s important we are all fully focused on the game.
“Southampton are an excellent club. They made a successful change with the manager in the summer. They’ve got threats all over."