Southampton continue their pursuit of the Championship leaders when they welcome Derby County to St Mary’s on Saturday.
A disappointing run of form which has seen just one win since Boxing Day has led to Saints surrendering top spot to West Ham United, and Nigel Adkins’ men missed out on the opportunity to take it back in midweek, drawing at Upton Park. However, Southampton will have been pleased with that result as it means they have not lost more ground on West Ham, and a win over Derby County would see them hit the summit once more because the Hammers are not in action again until next Tuesday (Match Odds – Southampton 8/13, Draw 13/5, Derby County 5/1 @ William Hill
St Mary’s has provided much comfort for the Saints this season, bringing 12 wins from 16 home games, and if they are to reignite their title challenge it is likely to come at this stadium (Championship Winner 4/1 @ SkyBet
). The visit of Derby County could well be good timing because the Rams are now winless since beating struggling Coventry City a month ago, and with only four wins from 15 home games they are hardly great travellers.
The Rams have, however, become dogged at the back and Southampton will have to work hard to break them down. But in Billy Sharp (6/4 anytime goalscorer @ BetVictor
) and Rickie Lambert (11/8 anytime goalscorer : BetVictor) they do have the strikers to do just that. Lambert leads the league with 16 Championship goals to his name, and four cup strikes, while newcomer Sharp is one of his challengers in the Golden Boot race having notched nine of his 10 goals while at struggling Doncaster Rovers (Lambert Top Goalscorer 6/4, Sharp Top Goalscorer 12/1 @ bet365
It is hard to look past Saints in this one and a victory here will put the pressure firmly on West Ham to beat Blackpool when they return to action on February 21.
Southampton To Win By One Goal – 11/4 @ bet365