PREVIEW: Sunderland vs Southampton

By SFC Media time Fri 01 May Club

Find out all you need to know ahead of Southampton's Barclays Premier League clash with Sunderland on Saturday at the Stadium of Light. (Kick-off 3pm BST).

Southampton head to the Stadium of Light on Saturday looking for victory against relegation-threatened Sunderland.

The Black Cats, now under the stewardship of Dutchman Dick Advocaat, currently occupy the final relegation spot with five games of their season remaining.

Saints on the other hand have four matches to go and will be looking for all three points to boost their chances of finishing ahead of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the battle for fifth.

The clash will bring back memories of Southampton’s stunning 8-0 win against the Black Cats, then managed by Gus Poyet, back in October at St Mary’s.

Both sides head into the game on the back of draws, with Saints held by Tottenham Hotspur last weekend at St Mary’s and Sunderland picking up a point away at Stoke City.

Ronald Koeman will be hoping Filip Djuričić will be back available, but Morgan Schneiderlin will miss out through injury. Victor Wanyama is back following his suspension, while Toby Alderweireld may play through the pain again this weekend after sustaining a shoulder injury at Stoke City.

Jay Rodriguez is back in training, but this game will come too soon for the striker.

Sunderland are set to be without striker Steven Fletcher, but Sebastian Larsson is available again after serving a two-game ban.

Sunderland have endured another difficult season, currently occupying 18th in the Barclays Premier League table.

They do however have a game in hand on their rivals, against Champions League hopefuls Arsenal, as they look to survive under new boss Dick Advocaat.

The Dutchman was appointed as Head Coach in March, taking over from Gus Poyet in the hope his arrival would boost their chances of staying up.

After defeat to West Ham United in his first game in charge the Black Cats beat rivals Newcastle United, their fourth success in a row against the Magpies, before a disappointing 4-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace.

Last weekend’s point at Stoke City came as a welcome boost, with Sunderland still to face Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester City and Everton in their remaining four games.

Connor Wickham is the club’s top scorer this season with six goals, while Adam Johnson has five and Steven Fletcher has four to his name.

Ronald Koeman said: “It was a crazy day, a crazy win with a lot of own goals. I don’t think they will help us like what they did in the first game.

“They have a new coach and I know him very well. They don’t get anything for one point; they have to play to win. I think it will be an attractive game this Saturday.”

Dick Advocaat said: “Every game is difficult. The good thing is that this is a team that likes to play football. They like to build up and that gives the possibility to go in.

“You see the results last week and also Hull against Liverpool, but we have to look at ourselves, especially in the home games. That was the reason I was so disappointed against Crystal Palace.

Mike Jones will be the man in the middle at the Stadium of Light this weekend when Saints take on Sunderland.

The 47 year-old, who has been a Premier League official since 2008, has taken charge of 31 games in total this season and has handed out 105 yellow cards and eight reds.

Jones has taken charge of two Southampton games this season; the 1-0 defeat away to Tottenham Hotspur and the 3-0 home loss to Manchester City.

At the Stadium of Light, Jones has been in charge once this season, when the Black Cats drew 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion.

If you aren’t able to make it to the game at the Stadium of Light don’t forget to follow the club’s official channels on social media, with full updates on Twitter and goal updates on Facebook.

You can also listen to commentary by subscribing to Saints Player, while there will also be a live blog running on throughout the game.

Stay tuned to the official website and the club’s YouTube channel for reaction to the game.

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