The first ever Barclays Premier League meeting between Saints and Stoke takes place at the Britannia Stadium this weekend.
Tony Pulis has established Stoke as a Premier League side since winning promotion with them in 2008, and their current league position of eighth heading into Saturday’s game underlines the progress that continues to be made under the Welsh boss.
Saints make their second journey in four days as they travel north in search of a first win at Stoke since 2006 when a Grzegorz Rasiak double earned a 2-1 success at the Britannia Stadium.
Nigel Adkins’ men gave themselves a late boost on Boxing Day through Rickie Lambert’s late penalty which earned Saints a deserved draw at Fulham, and they now sit one point clear of the dropzone with a game in hand on the teams around them.
Although Saints and Stoke have met in the top flight before, the most recent games played between the two were in the Championship, where Saints came out on top four times in the six matches played between 2005 and 2008.
Our last trip to the Britannia ended in a 3-2 defeat during February 2008. Saints trailed 3-0 at half time, but made a fist of it in the second period through a Stern John double. The win for Tony Pulis’s side avenged a 3-2 defeat at St Mary’s earlier that season.
Former Saints man Ricardo Fuller was on target for Stoke in that season’s first meeting between the two, whilst current Saints star Kelvin Davis was involved in both games that year.
Of the current squads, Stoke have counted on a number of former Saints to maintain their top flight status. Kenwyne Jones, Rory Delap, Peter Crouch, and Danny Higginbotham all remain on the books of the Potters, although the latter of those four men is currently on loan at Ipswich Town.
Saints defender Frazer Richardson spent two spells on loan at the Britannia from Leeds United, scoring once against West Ham United in a total of 13 games for the Potters in 2003.
There are no fresh concerns for Nigel Adkins, who made one change to his side on Boxing Day with Steven Davis replacing Emmanuel Mayuka in the starting line-up.
James Ward-Prowse returned to the squad for the trip to Fulham, whilst Guly and Jay Rodriguez were second half substitutes in West London.
Stoke were 3-1 winners over Liverpool in the evening kick-off on Boxing Day, but the victory came at a cost with defenders Ryan Shawcross and Geoff Cameron each picking up their fifth yellow cards of the campaign, meaning that they will both be suspended for the contest.
Matt Upson and Ryan Shotton are expected replacements.
In the Championship meetings between 2005 and 2008 Saints were defeated on the last two trips to the Britannia Stadium, with their last win coming there in 2006.
We last met in the 2007-08 campaign where a 3-2 success at St Mary’s was avenged by a 3-2 defeat at the Britannia Stadium later on in the season.
Although beaten on the last two trips to the Potters, Saints had only lost once in the eight previous matches played in Staffordshire.
Saturday's game is the 62nd all-time meeting between the two teams. Saints have the upper hand with 27 victories to Stoke’s 25. A further 9 games have ended all square.
Mark Clattenburg will referee the game, and he will be assisted by Mr S Beck and Mr S Long. Lee Mason is the fourth official.
You can listen to live commentary courtesy of BBC Solent on Saints Player, where you can keep up to date with all the stats and scores from around the country.
First Team Manager Nigel Adkins and defender Maya Yoshida spoke to the press ahead of the game, and you can read their pre match thoughts on saintsfc.co.uk now