Writer: Abe Hawken
Date:Friday March 6 2009
The Saints are ready to make the journey to England's second largest city to face a Birmingham side who are once again eyeing up the Premiership.
Alex McLeish's side beat Bristol City 1-0 on Wednesday night, taking them back up to second spot just three points behind their midland rivals Wolves.
Southampton are fresh off the back of three convincing wins, and with Mark Wotte revolutionising the team, the Saints are a team to be taken seriously in current form.
"I love to play the best teams in the league, the challenge is so big and there is so much to win, so we're looking forward to this game.
"They are a big club, they have a big stadium and lots of fans, but they are under even more pressure than us I think, they need to get back to the Premier League.
"We need to survive, but that's another kind of pressure. We're not afraid of playing them at all."
Birmingham defender Radhi Jaidi is doubtful after picking up a hamstring injury against Bristol City, whilst Scottish striker Gary O'Connor will not feature due to a groin problem.
David Murphy is another doubt with a thigh injury, so Frank Queudrue is likely to continue at left back after scoring the winner during the Blues 1-0 win over Bristol City midweek.
The Birmingham born midfielder will be looking to do what he does best by battling in the centre of the park, and giving 100 per cent for his side.
Many people, myself included, believe that Lee would not look out of place in a Premiership side, and signing him from Everton can be considered a massive coup. Almost every Championship club would love to have Carsley in the heart of their midfield.
Jan-Paul Saeijs is a doubt for the Saints, however the Dutchman is likely to travel and his fitness is to be assessed on the day.
Young starlet Adam Lallana did not feature in the sides 3-0 win at Ipswich, and the 20-year-old is once again a doubt for tomorrow's game, with French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin likely to deputise.
Although the Pole didn't get on the scoresheet at Portman Road on Tuesday night, the 30-year-old has given his side a lift with his goals since returning from a loan spell in Denmark. Saga will be looking to continue his good form by helping his side bring back all three points to the south coast.
A Kevin Phillips goal gave Birmingham the three points at St Mary's in the reverse fixture this season, but a spirited 2-0 victory in the Carling Cup gives Saints some confidence ahead of this difficult game.
Mr. Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)
Birmingham 1 - 2 Southampton. Saints to make it four out of four. Generally, Saints do better against the bigger sides, and after beating three teams in the top half in the last three games, the Saints have hit form at the crucial time.
10th March - Derby (H)
14th March - QPR (H)
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Date:Friday March 6 2009
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|2. Man City||26||16||7||3||31||55|
|4. Man Utd||26||13||8||5||18||47|
|8. West Ham||26||10||9||7||8||39|
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