Southampton host Fulham in the Premier League on Wednesday in a crucial clash at the bottom end of the table.
Both sides slumped to defeats in their last outings, adding extra incentive to the encounter at St Mary's Stadium, with both clubs sitting in 18th and 19th in the league respectively.
For Fulham, even a win would leave them in the bottom three and still four points off their south coast opponents, while Southampton desperately needs points to keep up the pace with sides above them.
Check out 90min's preview ahead of Wednesday's encounter.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Wednesday 27 February|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||19:45 (GMT)|
|Where Is it Played?||St Mary's Stadium|
|TV Channel/ Live Stream?||Sky Sports Soccer Special|
Ralph Hassenhuttl has a near fully fit squad to choose from for the match but is without Mario Lemina, who is still nursing an abdominal strain he picked up in December.
Hassenhuttl welcomed back Michael Obafemi against Arsenal on Sunday, however the Irishman managed only 20 minutes before suffering another hamstring strain and needing to be replaced, all but assuring his absence on Wednesday.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa made his return from injury in the Cottagers' defeat to West Ham, while there were debuts for new signings Lazar Markovic and Havard Nordtveit, as Claudio Ranieri has a full strength team available for the vital relegation battle.
|Southampton||McCarthy; Valery, Bednarek, Stephens, Vestergaard, Bertrand, Højbjerg, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Long, Austin.|
|Fulham||Rico; Odoi, Ream, Nordtveit, Bryan, Chambers, Seri, Sessegnon, Babel, Schurrle, Mitrovic|
Head to Head Record
The two clubs have faced off many times over the years, with 73 clashes between the sides taking place - leading in the head to head battles are Southampton, who have 27 victories to Fulham's 21.
This fixture back in November was Ranieri's first in charge of the Cottagers, as he oversaw a 3-2 win at Craven Cottage to get his reign off to the perfect start. Aleksander Mitrovic's brace and an Andre Schurrle strike were enough to see off a Stuart Armstrong double on the day to hand the capital club their second league victory of the season.
Prior to that meeting, the Saints had a good record against the men in white, being unbeaten in the previous six matches, a run that stretched back to 2004.
Given both side's position in the Premier League table it would be right to assume that both clubs have struggled massively this campaign.
Southampton's 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday meant the Saints have lost back-to-back league matches, after they had fallen to a 2-1 loss at home to Cardiff in the previous round. Prior to that, however, the club had been on a decent run, picking up nine points from five games after going unbeaten during that time.
For Fulham, it seems relegation back to the Championship at the first time of asking edges nearer by the week as Ranieri continues to experiment with his starting lineup in a desperate bid for a positive result.
A 3-1 loss away to London rivals West Ham on Saturday inflicted them a sixth defeat in their last seven top flight outings, with a 4-2 success over Brighton being the only bright side to what has been an unquestionably gloomy season. Victory for the away side, however, would earn them their fifth win in the division, equal with the Saints, and could reignite a campaign that is seemingly falling further towards relegation.
Here is how each team has performed in their past five matches:
|Arsenal 2-0 Southampton (24/02)||West Ham 3-1 Fulham (22/02)|
|Southampton 1-2 Cardiff City (09/02)||
Fulham 0-3 Manchester United (09/02)
|Burnley 1-1 Southampton (02/02)||Crystal Palace 2-0 Fulham (02/02)
|Southampton 1-1 Crystal Palace (30/01)||
Fulham 4-2 Brighton (29/01)
|Southampton 2-1 Everton (19/01)||Fulham 1-2 Tottenham (20/01)|
If there ever was a relegation 'six-pointer', then Wednesday's match is just that.
Should Fulham lose they will fall ten points adrift of the home side, while should they emerge victorious, could claw the gap back to just four points with ten matches left to play.
However, despite a couple of poor results for Hassenhuttl's men recently, the signs of improvement are there, he has his team playing for the badge and Nathan Redmond looks a player revitalised under the Austrian's tutelage. They should create plenty of chances against what is a shambolic Cottagers defence.
While the battle to stay in the Premier League becomes more interesting towards the latter end of the season, Wednesday could be the day the final nail is hammered into Fulham's coffin, leaving one relegation spot left for the rest to fight over.
Prediction: Southampton 2-0 Fulham