PREVIEW: Southamption v Exeter City
St. Mary's Stadium
Exeter City make the trip to Southampton on Boxing Day for what will be a special occasion for manager Paul Tisdale.
The City boss spent much of his playing career at Southampton, but he will set out to upset the odds by guiding the Grecians to a positive result at St. Mary`s.
The Saints have sold almost 30,000 tickets for Saturday`s match, and will be confident of picking up victory after hitting form over the past few months after a sluggish start.
Southampton Team News:
Graham Murty has been ruled out by Saints boss Alan Pardew. The defender ruptured his ankle ligaments in training.
Experienced goalkeeper Kelvin Davis has recovered from a groin strain but Bartosz Bialkowski is expected to keep his place.
Player to watch: Ricky Lambert
Ricky Lambert is undoubtedly the danger man. The prolific striker was signed from Bristol Rovers for an eye catching one million pounds and is fast approaching 20 goals for the season.
Exeter City Team News:
Paul Tisdale will have to make some enforced changes. Barry Corr is suspended after his misdemeanours against Southend saw him given a straight red. If Tisdale wants to maintain the target man, little man partnership, then he may give Richard Logan a rare start.
Goalkeeper Paul Jones made a successful return to the first team after almost three months out at home to Southend. Troy Archibald-Henville was taken off in the second half of that match with a slight muscle strain, but is expected to feature.
Player to watch: Adam Stansfield
Adam Stansfield was the star man in the hard fought over Southend, and the Grecians will need all of his tireless running at St. Mary`s to return home with a positive result.
Match Facts & Stats
The two sides met as recently as last season, but it has been 51 years since the last meeting in the league, where the Saints won 6-0 at the Dell.
Last seasons meeting was City`s first game back at St. James Park after promotion back to the Football League. The first round Carling Cup saw a comfortable 3-1 win for the Saints, with the only highlight for the Grecians an own goal from former Plymouth Argyle Captain Paul Wotton.
Southampton 2 Exeter City 0 As much as I hope that City can pick up a score draw in this game, I believe the Grecians will return to Devon pointless, after two second half goals halts their challenge.
Monday 28th December, 3pm
Coca Cola League 1
Exeter City v Gillingham
St. James Park, Exeter