Southampton v Hull City: Match preview

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The battle for survival in the Barclays Premier League is heating up quite intensely, even more so after QPR and Aston Villa grounded out a 3-3 draw on Tuesday night. 

With six teams in the frame to beat the drop, Hull City have the toughest set of remaining fixtures and begin that struggle some spell with a trip to Southampton on Saturday.

Quite often when the Tigers venture down south, results don't particularly go in their favour, and despite being slaughtered 4-1 in their previous visit to St Mary's, Steve Bruce insists that his players must not look back into the past.

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The former Sunderland boss will be boosted by the fact that Tom Huddlestone returns to the squad after serving a suspension, but fellow midfielder, David Meyler, begins a ban of his own courtesy of picking up a red card in Hull's 3-1 defeat to Swansea City last week.

Andrew Robertson may be in contention after recovering from a knock, and although Curtis Davies has also returned from injury, his poor form earlier in the season should keep him out of the squad.

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Gaston Ramirez is ineligible to face his parent club, so filling in for the Uruguayan will be Mo Diame, whose substitute appearance last week saw him feature for the first time since December.

Southampton competing for Europa League spot

Southampton are in a completely different situation to their opponents, but will be targeting a win just as much as Saturday's visitors with a Europa League spot to scrap with between themselves, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. 

Hopes of gaining that well regarded fifth place took a major setback for the Saints last week after a defeat on the road against Everton and will be looking to bounce back seven days later in order to keep the European dream alive.

Steven Davis missed the trip to Goodison Park because of a groin injury, although Ronald Koeman is hoping to have the Northern Irishman back in contention whilst Shane Long looks set to face his former club.

Hull competing to avoid relegation

The East Yorkshire based club are virtually dangling above the drop zone and defeat this week could be catastrophic with fixtures against Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs still on the calendar whilst other teams also engulfed in the relegation dog-fight have slightly easier run-ins. 

Victories for Leicester, Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers last week enclosed the gap at the bottom and dragged Hull back into the midst of it all.

Leicester and Sunderland will be targeting wins again for this gameweek, whilst other teams that surround the Tigers face tougher opponents.

As for Southampton, Liverpool face a tasty test against Newcastle United - a game that always produces plenty of entertainment and goals - whilst Tottenham must recover from a bore draw with Burnley on Sunday by beating Aston Villa.

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