A pivotal Premier League basement battle takes place at St Mary’s Stadium on Wednesday night, as Southampton welcome Nottingham Forest to the South Coast.
The Saints suffered an agonizing 2-1 defeat to Fulham in their most recent battle, while Steve Cooper’s side deservedly hung on for a 1-1 draw against Chelsea.
Southampton starlet Sam Edozie was an enforced withdrawal in the 77th minute of his side’s defeat to Fulham, but the 19-year-old is only thought to have been suffering from cramp and should be fine to feature on Wednesday.
That is more than can be said for Alex McCarthy, Theo Walcott, Juan Larios and Valentino Livramento, who is still a few weeks away from returning from his serious knee injury, but Jones should otherwise be working with the same crop of players he had at Craven Cottage.
Changes could be kept to a minimum after the hosts gave Fulham a good run for their money, but Che Adams may be fearful of losing his place up front after missing a couple of chances last time out.
With regard to Forest, a hefty long-term injury list still includes Omar Richards, Moussa Niakhate, Cheikhou Kouyate and Giulian Biancone, while Jesse Lingard’s thigh problem could rule the 30-year-old out for up to a month.
Cooper has no fresh concerns to report from the draw with Chelsea and could very well keep faith with the same starting XI from that deserved draw, as Aurier keeps Neco Williams at bay in defence, but Gustavo Scarpa is now available to make his competitive debut following his arrival from Palmeiras.
Tough-tackling midfielder Ryan Yates will miss Forest’s clash with Leicester City on January 14 if he is booked here, but the 25-year-old ought to hold his position regardless.
Southampton possible starting lineup:
Bazunu; Lyanco, Salisu, Bella-Kotchap; Walker-Peters, Lavia, Ward-Prowse, Elyounoussi; S. Armstrong, Aribo; Adams
Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Henderson; Aurier, Worrall, Boly, Lodi; Yates, Freuler, Mangala; Johnson, Gibbs-White, Awoniyi
We say: Southampton 1-1 Nottingham Forest