PREVIEW: Southampton vs QPR

By SFC Media Fri 26 Sep First team

Queens Park Rangers are the visitors to St Mary’s this weekend, with Saints aiming to maintain their unbeaten start on home soil.

Ronald Koeman’s men are in fine form with five consecutive victories in league and cup competition, collecting a maximum haul from their last three league games.

Their last success at home against Newcastle a fortnight ago sandwiched wins at West Ham and Swansea to put Saints among the early pacesetters at the top of the table.

A midweek victory at Arsenal in the Capital One Cup saw only a handful of changes made to Koeman’s starting line-up, with Senegalese winger Sadio Mané making his debut for the club, and the new recruit could well make his first appearance at St Mary’s on Saturday.

The Saints manager could have Toby Alderweireld back from a knock in defence, but confirmed that midfielder James Ward-Prowse is set for a spell on the sidelines with a long-term injury.

In recent times, this fixture has been good to the visitors, with two wins and two draws from the team’s battles here in the Championship, prior to a surprise 2-1 success at St Mary’s two seasons’ ago in the top-flight.

Saints have however, won three of the last five Premier League meetings all-told against QPR after winning none of the previous five.

QPR secured their fourth point of the season with last weekend’s 2-2 draw against Stoke where Niko Kranjcar’s late free-kick earned Harry Redknapp’s side a result to go alongside their win over Sunderland last month.

The R’s have struggled on the road so far this season, with heavy 4-0 defeats at both Manchester United and Tottenham in the league, as well as a cup defeat to Burton Albion, but Redknapp isn’t too downbeat about his side’s performances thus far.

“I think we are improving,” says the QPR boss. “We have had a difficult couple of away games at Spurs and Manchester United and we will only get better.

“Some of the new players we bought into the club were not up to speed on their fitness and it takes a bit of time to get them where we want to be, but I think we will be fine this season.”

Rangers are expected to be without midfield duo Jordon Mutch and Joey Barton, but they could have Sandro back from a knee injury after missing the draw with Stoke.

Mark Clattenburg has been appointed as the referee for this game. He was in the middle for Saints’ opening game of the season at Anfield, where he showed yellow cards to Morgan Schneiderlin and Steven Davis.

Last season he took charge of three matches which all ended in defeats away from home for Southampton at Arsenal, Everton, and West Ham.

Tickets for Saturday's game are still available. Fans can buy online at tickets.saintsfc.co.uk, by phoning 02381 780 780 or by visiting the St Mary's Ticket Office.

If you can’t make it to this game, then don’t forget to follow the club’s official channels on social media, with live updates on Twitter and Facebook.

Audio commentary is available to subscribers of Saints Player, and don’t forget to keep on checking saintsfc.co.uk throughout the weekend for further previews and all of the reaction to the game.

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