Southampton-Fulham Preview

TOM BENNETT (STATS European Football Writer)
The Associated Press

The threat of relegation will be looming over Craven Cottage as Fulham host Southampton at the riverside ground on Saturday.

René Meulensteen's Fulham (6-1-16) have lost six of their last eight games - including hugely disappointing defeats to Sunderland and Swansea in the last three - to slip to 19th in the table and two points from safety heading into the weekend.

However, the Cottagers have been active in the January transfer market in a bid to halt their slide, and one of their signings - Danish international William Kvist - can't wait for the chance to fight for survival with the London club.

"I'm very pleased to have got the deal done and I'm looking forward to contributing to this fantastic club," said the midfielder in an interview with the club's official website. "Of course I've heard a lot of good things from Brede (Hangeland) and it's been a target of mine to come here so I'm delighted to be here really.

"I just had my first training session and it was perfect. It was good to get to know the guys and talk to René Meulensteen about the tactical concepts and what his ideas are so I'm very much looking forward to my time here."

Visitors Southampton (8-8-7) are unbeaten in their last three after a poor run of form over December saw them slip out of the race for the European places. A 2-2 draw with then league leaders Arsenal on Tuesday further boosted the confidence of the resurgent Saints, who were unlucky not to take all three points from the high-flying Gunners.

"I thought the result was good, but that we also deserved to win the game," said manager Mauricio Pochettino. "We should have got a bit more from the game but, overall, I want to congratulate the players because they played really well.

"When you make mistakes against a team as good as Arsenal, there's a heavy price to pay, but the team was really brave and courageous, and we did really well to get back into the match. The players showed a lot of character and spirit today. Overall, we feel positive about this game and positive about the future from here on."

Fulham have injury doubts over John Arne Riise (hamstring), Fernando Amorebieta (knee), Neil Etheridge (hip) and Matthew Briggs (groin), while the Saints have concerns over the fitness of Rickie Lambert (hamstring). Gaston Ramirez (ankle) and Dejan Lovren (ankle) are sidelined until March for Southampton.

It was a comfortable 2-0 win for Southampton in October when these teams met at St Mary's. Lambert opened the scoring from a Jay Rodriguez assist after 20 minutes, and later in the first half, the roles were reversed as Lambert set up his England teammate.

Fulham have failed to win any of their last four Premier League meetings with the Saints, but in 11 all-time top-flight meetings between the two clubs, there have been only two wins for Southampton - with three for Fulham and six draws.