Saints are looking to record their third consecutive Barclays Premier League victory as we welcome Norwich City to St Mary’s for a 7.45pm kick off tomorrow evening.
Nigel Adkins’ side have now recorded back-to-back successes over Queens Park Rangers and Newcastle United to take us out of the top-flight relegation zone.
Sunday’s 2-0 win over the Magpies – secured courtesy of goals either side of the break from Adam Lallana and Gastón Ramírez – was enough to lift Saints into 17th place.
Depending on results elsewhere, another three points against the Canaries could elevate us as high as 14th, which would represent excellent progress given the team sat bottom of the league less than three weeks ago.
Tomorrow’s opponents have taken 15 points from their first 13 2012-13 Premier League fixtures, putting them firmly in mid-table.
They lost four and drew three of their opening seven league games under new boss Chris Hughton, sparking fears of ‘second season syndrome’ after last year’s successful return to the top flight.
But Norwich are now unbeaten in seven – a run that includes home wins over Arsenal and Manchester United – and they have progressed to the quarter finals of the Capital One Cup.
Hughton’s men have yet to win away from Carrow Road, though they have secured credible draws at Tottenham, Aston Villa and, last Saturday, Sebastien Bassong’s last-minute leveller earned them a point from their trip to Everton.
Grant Holt is the Canaries’ current top scorer with three from 15 appearances. Simeon Jackson has two, while a further nine players have solitary goals to their names so far in 2012-13.
Saints gaffer Adkins expects to welcome Danny Fox back into his squad after the left-back missed Sunday’s visit of Newcastle because of a knee injury.
Rickie Lambert came off during the closing stages of that game after incurring a knock to his leg, but should be fine to feature against the Canaries.
Norwich will give a late test to goalkeeper John Ruddy, who was substituted during Saturday’s draw at Everton with a thigh strain.
Defender Michael Turner will miss a second successive game with a shoulder injury. Harry Kane (foot) is also out, but Russell Martin is available again.
Former Saints midfielder Andrew Surman has an outside chance of featuring as he nears a recovery from a knee problem that has limited his involvement this season.
Having followed similar paths in moving from League 1 to the Premier League with back-to-back promotions, Southampton and Norwich have been regular adversaries over the past decade.
The two teams last met in 2009-10, when both were looking to return to the Championship at the first time of asking having been relegated at the end of the previous campaign.
The most recent game between Saints and the Canaries came in February 2010, when Lee Barnard’s double gave us a 2-0 success at Carrow Road against our table-topping opponents, who had Darel Russell sent off just after the hour.
We also met at the southern semi-final stage of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, with Saints winning on penalties after the clubs drew 2-2 in normal time at St Mary’s.
Papa Waigo put the hosts in front before Gary Doherty and Chris Martin gave the Canaries the advantage until loanee Waigo forced a shootout with a last-minute leveller.
Wayne Thomas scored the crucial penalty as Southampton 6-5 from the spot to put us on our way to an eventual Wembley win over Carlisle.
Saints are unbeaten in their last five games against Norwich, with our last home defeat to the Canaries coming in January 2008.
We have faced tomorrow’s opponents in 95 competitive matches. 37 of those have ended in victory, 27 in draws and 31 in defeat.
Mark Clattenburg will referee tomorrow night’s match, and will be assisted by Simon Beck and Stephen Child. The fourth official will be Kevin Friend.
Tickets remain on sale for the game, with Block 43 now being allocated to home fans after previously being given to away supporters. Purchase your ticket online, over the telephone on 02381 780780 or directly from the St Mary’s Ticket Office.
You can listen to live commentary courtesy of BBC Solent on Saints Player, where you can keep up to date with all the stats and scores from around the country.