Norwich City-Southampton Preview

TOM BENNETT (STATS European Football Writer)
The Associated Press

Chris Hughton will be looking for a reaction from his relegation-threatened Norwich City players when they travel to St Mary's to play Southampton on Saturday.

The Canaries (7-8-14) are four points clear of the bottom three, but a heavy 4-1 defeat to Aston Villa and a disappointing 1-1 draw with Stoke last time out has ensured that Hughton's side still need plenty of points during the run-in to guarantee their top-flight status for next season.

"We were very disappointed with the result at home to Stoke, it was one we felt we should have won, so we now have to react in the right way," said Hughton. "Southampton have had a very good season, but we want to put ourselves in a position where we can creep away from where we are at the moment, and the only way we can do is through performances and more so, results.

"They've had some good periods and they've had some periods this season where they perhaps haven't done so well, but we have to make sure we're focusing on our abilities to do well."

Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton (11-9-9) are comfortably mid-table and have lost just two of their last nine league games (4-3-2). However, the arrival of new chairman Ralph Krueger raised doubts over the commitment of the club's owner to staying on the south coast, but the new Saints head insisted this week that owner Katharina Liebherr has no intention of leaving - although he refused to rule out selling some of the team's best players in the summer.

"She has always cared and this has always been a special organisation, and she really, really cares about what happens here," Krueger said. "Yes, she has a family, yes she has other things going on, but this has become a very important priority for her.

"We will do everything possible to retain the players as long as possible but it is too early in the process to specify what that means. Everybody has to know that we will work within our means. We will have a healthy organisation with no shortcuts."

Southampton have injury doubts over Jack Cork (ankle), Kelvin Davis (knock) and Jos Hooiveld (eye), while Norwich have concerns over the fitness of Alexander Tettey (knee) and Leroy Fer (hamstring), while Jonas Gutierrez (calf), Michael Turner (hamstring) and Elliott Bennett (knee) are out.

Norwich ran out 1-0 winners when these teams met back in August, with summer signing Nathan Redmond scoring the only goal. That is the Canaries' only win over the Saints in their last six meetings, although there have been four draws in that run - including the last two at St Mary's.

Hughton's side have not scored more than a single goal in their last 14 league games - a run that stretches back to a 2-0 victory over West Brom at the start of December. They have failed to score in six of those 14 matches.

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