Burnley vs Southampton Preview: Out of form Clarets hope to get back to winning ways with visit of Saints

Mauricio Pellegrino's Southampton travel to the north-west as they hope to kick on in their quest to avoid the drop with Burnley providing hosts for this week's Premier League action between the two clubs.

Following a round of FA Cup fixtures, which saw the Saints claim an away feat over West Bromwich Albion, the Clarets and visitors return to the top-flight schedule and both will be eager to claim the three points - but for very different reasons.

Sean Dyche's Burnley are without a win in the Premier League for over two months and, despite being seventh in the league ladder, have drifted nine points behind sixth-placed Arsenal and are only ten above the relegation zone.

As for Southampton, the Hampshire outfit lost to top-four hopefuls Liverpool at St. Mary's a fortnight ago; taking up the final place in the bottom three, however, a win this weekend may very well see the team lift up outside the drop zone for the time being.

Key players absent for Clarets

​Unfortunate for the hosts, who were once dreaming of European football at Turf Moor, have a queue lining up outside the treatment room with the ongoing list growing by the match week.

Attacking duo Jonathan Walters and Chris Wood are both out with knee problems, and they join Steven Defour, Phil Bardsley and James Tarkowski in the physio's office.

Although, there is good news to come out of Burnley in the last few days as shot-stopper Tom Heaton as returned to the first-team having missed most of this season. The England international played the full ninety minutes in a behind-closed-doors outing against Blackpool mid-week, but it is unlikely the 31 year-old will feature for the visit of Southampton.

Saints' defensive options dwindling

Mauricio Pellegrino certainly has the opposite to a selection headache ahead of the weekend's action with only two senior centre-backs fit, Jack Stephens and Wesley Hoedt.

Romanian defender Florin Gardoș has returned to his home land via a loan deal until the end of the campaign to Universitatea Craiova. Meanwhile, Maya Yoshida has been ruled out of being amongst the matchday squad for the trip north.

The only other absence for the Saints is long-term absentee Charlie Austin so Manolo Gabbiadini is seemingly likely to lead the line at Turf Moor on Saturday.

Clarets top Saints in head-to-head figures

​The historic gap between Burnley and Southampton is frighteningly narrow, making it merely impossible to predict how this game will play out. The hosts only slightly beat their opponents in the head-to-head record with 21 triumphs, compared to the Saints' 20. These two sides have also played out fourteen draws since they first met 110 years ago.

St. Mary's was the host for the last time Clarets met Southampton, back in November. Despite a dominating display from Pellegrino's squad, it was Dyche and his team which walked away with all three points - courtesy of a late Sam Vokes header in the 81st minute.