Everton will look to make it three wins on the bounce in all competitions when they travel to the south coast to face a struggling Southampton side this weekend.
After a run of just one win in eight, Marco Silva’s troops are starting to look like they’ve finally got over their derby day shell shock from early December.
It hasn’t been pretty, but a 2-1 win over Lincoln in the FA Cup and the 2-0 downing of Bournemouth in the league is exactly what was needed for the Merseysiders.
Silva will be desperate to add to his side’s two away scalps this term.
The Saints’ slow start to the season cost Mark Hughes his job after just nine months in the St. Mary’s hot seat.
Ralph Hasenhuttl replaced the Welshman and has given Southampton the lift they desperately needed.
The Austrian, who will be very familiar to Ademola Lookman having managed him at RB Leipzig last campaign, has picked up three of the Saints’ four league wins this season.
Southampton come into the clash on the back of 120 minutes of football against Derby County in an FA Cup third round replay, with the south coast outfit eventually losing on penalties to Frank Lampard’s resilient Rams.
The hosts start the weekend in 16th place, just one point above the relegation zone. Everton are 10th, a win with other results going in the Toffees’ favour could see them fly up to seventh.
Southampton could be Everton’s first league double of the season after strikes from Theo Walcott and Richarlison sealed the points in August.
One to watch —
Nathan Redmond has been completely transformed under Hasenhuttl. Since the new manager arrived Redmond has scored five goals and picked up two assists in nine outings.
The 24-year-old’s raw pace will no doubt cause problems against the Toffees’ defence despite keeping their first clean sheet in 10 games against Bournemouth.
Team news —
Ryan Bertrand and Mario Lemina will face late fitness tests ahead of the clash.
Surprisingly, Everton have no new injury news to report.
Man in the middle —
Graham Scott will be the man with the cards this weekend, in 15 games this term (including Everton’s 3-1 win over Rotherham in the League Cup) he has dished out 38 yellows and two reds.