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09:00 22nd August 2014

PREVIEW: Southampton vs West Bromwich Albion

St Mary’s plays host to its first match of the new Premier League season on Saturday when the Baggies visit Southampton. Kick-off 3pm.

The opening home game of the 2014/15 campaign offers Saints a chance to claim their first win of the season following last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

Ronald Koeman fielded a number of league debutants last Sunday, with Fraser Forster, Ryan Bertrand, Dušan Tadić, and Graziano Pellè all starting the game against the Reds, while fellow new boy Shane Long appeared from the bench in the second-half.

Absent from that game were Gaston Ramirez and Florin Gardos, with Koeman suggesting ahead of this weekend’s game that only the latter is an outside option for the West Brom match.

There are unlikely to be many changes to the squad as a result, with goalkeeper Artur Boruc also not being considered by the Dutchman before the end of the transfer window.

Saints will come up against a much changed Albion side to the one which was on the end of a 1-0 defeat here in January.

Head Coach Alan Irvine has recruited many new faces to the Baggies squad over the summer including former Saints defender Chris Baird, who could be in line for only his second return to St Mary’s since departing the club in 2007.

Irvine’s men were held to a 2-2 draw by Sunderland at The Hawthorns on the opening day of the season, with last season’s top scorer Saido Berahino netting both of the goals for the home side who were pegged back late on by Sebastian Larsson’s strike.

The midlanders have lost on seven of their previous ten trips to Southampton, with their only win in that sequence coming in the 2012/13 season where Shane Long was among the scorers in a 3-0 success.

Roger East has been appointed as the referee for this game. He last officiated a Saints game at the start of 2012 when Nigel Adkins’ men were held to a 1-1 draw by Millwall in the FA Cup at The Den.

This will be Mr East’s first Premier League match of the season after taking charge of Plymouth vs Exeter in League 2, and Birmingham vs Ipswich in the Championship earlier this week.

Tickets are on general sale, and can be bought online at, by calling the ticket sales hotline on 02381 780 780 or in person from the St Mary’s Ticket Office.

If you can’t make the game, then don’t forget to follow the club’s official channels on social media, with live updates on Twitter and Facebook.

Audio commentary is available to subscribers of Saints Player, and don’t forget to keep on checking throughout the weekend for further previews and all of the reaction to the game.