Saints v Whites preview

Friday 29 March 2002

Fulham manager Jean Tigana has no new injury problems for the visit to the south coast. The only casualty is midfielder Lee Clark with his long-running Achilles problem.

Fulham (from): Van der Sar, Finnan, Goma, Ouaddou, Brevett, Malbranque, Legwinski, Davis, Hayles, Marlet, Saha, Taylor, Harley, Melville, Collins, Boa Morte, Goldbaek.

MOST SIGNIFICANT STATS

FA Cup semi-finalists Fulham are in free fall and desperately need something from the trip to draw specialists Southampton to arrest a slide that's seen them slip from 9th to 14th after six successive defeats. Only three points separate the Cottagers from a place in the drop zone.

Southampton, by comparison, have staged a solid, if unspectacular recovery under Gordon Strachan. They have won eight, lost eight and drawn seven in 23 Premiership games played since his arrival.

Fulham are chasing a first League win at Southampton for 67 years and first ever League maximum over the Saints in the top flight.

Two Steed Malbranque goals proved enough as Fulham won the reverse fixture 2-1 in October, in Gordon Strachan's second match in charge of the Saints. James Beattie got the consolation.

Fulham therefore are out to claim the first Premiership 'double' in their history, while Southampton will pull out all the stops to prevent the Londoners from joining Man U and Leeds as clubs to have picked up home and away victories over them this season.

A win will take Southampton's all-time points tally in the Premiership past the 450 mark. They have 448 at present.

Fulham wrap up their Easter programme with a London derby at home to West Ham. They have tough games at Newcastle and Leeds to come as well as crucial home matches against Bolton and Leicester and a trip to Blackburn.

Southampton could have a say in the relegation issue with a visit to Blackburn on Monday and home match against Derby next Saturday. Their season will end on 11 May, at home to Newcastle.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

Total 52 Southamton wins 21 Fulham wins 16 Draws 15

HEAD TO HEAD NOTES

First ever Premiership meeting between Southampton and Fulham at St Mary's and first League meeting at Southampton in 25 years.

The Saints have won the last three home League meetings against the Cottagers and hold a 13 match unbeaten home League run against them, 11 of which have been won.

Fulham's only League maximum in 23 visits to Southampton was 1-2 in the former Second Division on 26 October, 1935.

The Londoners won the reverse fixture 2-1 and are now out to pick up their first 'double' over the Saints since originally locking League horns in 1922.

SOUTHAMPTON

Current League position

11th 37 points

Sequences

DRAWN LAST 3 - both Prem

UNBEATEN IN 5 - all Prem [1 win, 4 draws]

SCORED IN EACH OF THE LAST 4

CONCEDED IN EACH OF THE LAST 4

Recent Form

1 win in last 7 League and Cup games

Won 2 of last 8 Premiership matches

Drawn 4 of last 5 in all competitions

6 draws in last 9 top flight encounters

Lost 3 of last 11 domestic confrontations

1 defeat in last 9 top division duels

Failed to score in 1 of last 13 contests

Failed to find the net in 1 of the last 12 League clashes

2 clean sheets in last 8

Managed 1 clean sheet in last 7 top tier League outings

10 CLEAN SHEETS - 8 in Prem

FAILED TO SCORE 9 TIMES - all in Prem

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES ACHIEVED - 0

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES SUFFERED - 2

4 RED CARDS - all in Prem

EVER PRESENTS: 2 Wayne Bridge Paul Jones

STARTED EVERY GAME: 2
Wayne Bridge

Potential Career Milestones

If named in the eleven, Wayne BRIDGE will be making his 99th League start for the Saints

SAINTS NOTES

Drawn last three against Middlesbrough (1-1, H, Prem, 6 Mar), Leicester (2-2, H, Prem, 16 Mar) and Sunderland (1-1, A, Prem, 23 Mar).

Last win was 1-3, away to Ipswich, in the Premiership on 2 March, 2002.

Last away defeat was 3-1 at Newcastle in the Premiership on 9 February.

One of two clubs still with two players to have started all their top flight matches this season. The other is Charlton.

FULHAM

Current League position 14th 35 points 3 points above the relegation bracket

Sequences

LOST LAST 6 PREMIERSHIP GAMES

LOST LAST 5 AWAY LEAGUE MATCHES

GONE 9 SINCE A DRAW

6 LEAGUE GAMES SINCE A CLEAN SHEET

Recent Form

1 win in last 7 League and Cup games

Won 1 of last 10 Premiership matches

Drawn 1 of last 12 in all competitions

1 draw in last 9 top flight encounters

Lost 7 of last 11 domestic confrontations

7 defeats in last 9 top division duels

Failed to score in 2 of last 9 contests

Failed to find the net in 1 of the last 3 League clashes

1 clean sheet in last 8

Managed 2 clean sheets in last 11 top tier League outings

15 CLEAN SHEETS - 12 in Prem

FAILED TO SCORE 12 TIMES - all in Prem

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES ACHIEVED - 0

PREMIERSHIP DOUBLES SUFFERED - 3

2 RED CARDS - both in Prem

EVER PRESENTS: 2
Steve Finnan
Steed Malbrangue

STARTED EVERY GAME: 1
Steve Finnan

Potential Career Milestones

Barry HAYLES is a double strike away from 50 goals for Fulham

COTTAGERS NOTES

Lost the last six Premiership games against Middlesbrough (2-1, A, 19 Feb), Arsenal (4-1, A, 23 Feb), Liverpool (0-2, H, 2 Mar), Chelsea (3-2, A, 6 Mar), Everton (2-1, A, 16 Mar) and Tottenham (0-2, H, 24 Mar).

Last Premiership win was 2-0 at home to Blackburn on 9 February, 2002.

Last away Premiership win was 0-1 at Derby on 2 January, 2002.

One of five clubs to have won fewest away games in the top flight - 2. The others are Blackburn, Everton, Leicester and West Ham.

One of two clubs to have suffered the longest losing sequence in the top League so far this season - 6. The other is Leicester.

Conceded the earliest Premiership goal this season. David Unsworth's 27th second strike for Everton at Goodison on 16 January is the quickest top flight goal so far this campaign.

Registered more top division goalless draws than any other club - 6.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE - JEFF WINTER (Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland)