After a disappointing defeat against Newcastle United, Southampton will look to return to winning ways when they travel to Vicarage Road to face Watford on Tuesday.
The Saints are currently 16th in the Premier League table, but a win against the Hornets could help them get out of the relegation scrap and all but confirm their safety.
Southampton team news
Michael Obafemi will continue his spell on the sidelines while the likes of Charlie Austin, Jannik Vestergaard, and Matt Targett are all doubtful. Mario Lemina, however, is pushing for a start along with Jan Valery, who is expected to return after missing the last game.
Predicted Southampton lineup vs Watford
As iterated earlier, Valery is set to return to the starting lineup at the expense of James Ward-Prowse, who featured as a right wing-back against Newcastle United.
Ryan Bertrand, on the other hand, is a guaranteed starter on the left wing-back role and the former Chelsea defender will play a crucial role in nullifying the threat of Matt Doherty.
With Vestergaard set to face a late fitness test, Ralph Hasenhuttl could be forced to deploy Jack Stephens in defence, should the towering Dane miss out.
Stephens will be partnered by the ever-present figure of Jan Bednarek along with Maya Yoshida at the heart of Southampton’s three-man backline.
Angus Gunn will retain his place in between the sticks for Southampton and the former Man City ‘keeper will look for his fourth clean sheet of the campaign.
Despite the return of Lemina, it’s unlikely that Hasenhuttl will hand the former Juventus midfielder a start this week, especially considering Ward-Prowse’s impressive form.
Therefore, the 24-year-old could shift to his preferred role in the advanced midfield position, where he will remain Southampton’s weapon in chief in terms of creativity. Ward-Prowse will be partnered by the midfield duo of Oriol Romeu and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, both of who will operate in deeper roles.
As for Lemina, we could expect the Gabonian international to make a late appearance in the second half, with Stuart Armstrong also an option.
The Southampton attack will be led by the club’s top scorer in Danny Ings. The Liverpool loanee has netted seven goals this season and will be partnered by Nathan Redmond.