West Ham United v Southampton Preview: Hammers and Saints search to kick-start relegation dogfight

West Ham United v Southampton Preview: Hammers and Saints search to kick-start relegation dogfight

David Moyes' West Ham United host Southampton in a relegation six-pointer, with just eight matches remaining.

Ryan White

Following the climax of the final international break prior to the summer's World Cup, Premier League action returns for the Easter weekend and one particular tie that will have much significance is the fixture between West Ham United and Southampton

The two sides are sat at the bottom end of the table; Hammers manager David Moyes sees his squad sit just one place and two points above their opposition, Southampton, who take up the final place in the drop zone. 

Having become triumphant in his first Saints game as boss via a 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup, Mark Hughes is aiming to lead the club's bid for survival by picking up three points in the capital, however, West Ham are also eager to remain in the top-flight.

Saturday's hosts can brag just the one win in their previous five league outings; as for Southampton, they have claimed five points from the same number of games. 

Defensive shortage for Moyes

West Ham United are desperately scrapping for numbers in their defence with several recognisable names remaining absent. 

Centre-halves Winston Reid and José Fonte are absent from the first-team, as is full-back Sam Byram.

James Collins played a part in the Hammers' friendly against Dagenham & Redbridge during the international break but was forced to withdraw due to injury. 

In slightly more positive news for the entertainers, attacking midfielder Manuel Lanzini did pick up a knock on duty with Argentina but it is fully expected the 25-year-old can recover in time for the visit of Southampton. 

Long-serving captain set to miss out

Steven Davis, who accumulated 200 Saints matches earlier this campaign, and the current skipper is unlikely to feature in the matchday squad on Saturday after withdrawing from the Northern Ireland national team. 

Despite that, another Southampton favourite who is hit and miss for the weekend's trip to the capital is full-back Ryan Bertrand - picking up an injury with England. 

Charlie Austin is nearing a return from his long-term lay-off but the Easter away match against West Ham is said to be too soon for the former Burnley striker. 

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Saints leading the way in head-to-head

Since moving to their new home in Stratford in the summer of 2016, West Ham have enjoyed very little success on the new turf and that was certainly not helped by the victory Southampton claimed in east London last season.

Charlie Austin, Dušan Tadić and James Ward-Prowse netted to confirm the 3-0 victory

The Hammers have since travelled to the south coast twice; most recently back in August when they were on the receiving end of a 3-2 defeat at St. Mary's, although the club did pick up a win back in February of last year.