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Preview: Southampton vs Newcastle

Saints have beat Newcastle in their two previous fixtures at St. Mary's. Can they make it third time lucky?

Steve Bardens

No one likes international breaks: especially after coming off back-to-back London wins over Millwall and West Ham.

But, Saints will be looking to pick up where they left off two weeks ago when they face Newcastle on Saturday.

A lot has happened since then; Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld has joined the club on loan from Atletico Madrid and promising Senagalese winger Sadio Mané has joined from Red Bull Salzburg on a permanent deal. Gaston Ramirez and Jos Hooiveld completed Southampton's summer departures.

Saints' recent home record against Newcastle is good, having beat them 2-0 and 4-0 in their last two meetings at St. Mary's. However, the West Ham game shows that recent home records mean nothing, as Southampton avenged their two previous Premier League drubbings at Upton Park with a crushing 3-1 win over the Hammers.

Newcastle are yet to win this season - that, coupled with ex-Saints boss Alan Pardew at the helm, would mean The Toon will be more than up for this. Pardew certainly seems to be aware of Newcastle's recent woes at St. Mary's:

Southampton away is a fixture that has been hard on us the last couple of years, and we need to improve on that.

We're committed to get the best performances out of the squad. We've mainly looked strong this season and need to take that on.

Newcastle will have also rued the international break. Not for a loss of momentum: the Geordies are coming off a disappointing 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace, but two of their stars have returned from their national teams sporting injuries.

Summer signing Siem de Jong has returned from international duty with the Netherlands carrying a thigh injury which could rule him out until Christmas, while promising youngster Rolando Aarons picked up a hamstring injury during his spell with the England U20s. Newcastle also have Papiss Cissé, Davide Santon and Ryan Taylor all out with knee injuries.

There are no real injury concerns for Southampton other than the obvious omission of Jay Rodriguez, as he battles back to fitness after picking up a nasty knee injury last season.

Newcomer Alderweireld is expected to feature, but it's unclear whether Mané will make his Saints debut as he has not long been back from Africa following his performances for the Senegal national team - which saw him net twice in two games for the Lions of Teranga.