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Premier League Preview: Southampton v West Brom

Southampton will be keen to add to their unbeaten streak when they welcome West Bromwich Albion to St Mary’s on Saturday.

The Saints have steered away from relegation danger with 12 points in their past six fixtures – including momentous wins over Liverpool and Chelsea – to remain unbeaten since their 2-1 loss to Queens Park Rangers in early March.

They are one point from the magical ’40’ mark that is widely regarded as being the number required to secure safety.

West Brom have failed to win in their past four – including drab draws against Stoke and Newcastle, plus losses to West Ham and Arsenal – but still sit three points clear in eighth spot in the table.

Steve Clarke’s men will continue to be without Youssouf Mulumbu, who will serve the last match of a three-game ban, while George Thorne and Zoltan Gera are long-term injury absentees with respective knee injuries.

West Brom defender Billy Jones said despite their lacklustre form of late, a trio of records were well within grasp.

“We have talked about our targets weekly and we want to reach 50 points, finish within the top eight and get the record number of wins in the Premier League,” Jones said.

“Those targets are still the same and they are still achievable with five games to go.”

Another victory would see them to 14 wins this season, which would better last season’s record of 13.

Jones believes their campaign has vindicated the board’s selection of Clarke to lead the first team.

“He has been great. I think everyone would agree,” Jones said of his coach.

“It was a hard job for him to take over from Roy Hodgson after how well he did but at the moment it looks like we are going to set records again this season.

“For a first season as a new gaffer, he’s got to be really happy. He sets really high standards and doesn’t accept anything less.”

Southampton are without Richard Chaplow (ankle) – and manager Mauricio Pochettino can start dreaming of his side earning a top-10 finish given the fitness of his squad.

West Brom won the reverse fixture 2-0 courtesy of a Peter Odemwingie brace.

Thu 25 April, 2013
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