(Photo: Reuters/Darren Staples)
Newcastle United will face Southampton at St. James Park on Sunday as the Magpies look to move higher up the table and away from the relegation zone.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew will have to refocus his side after they were able to move past Ukraine's Metalist Kharkiv 1-0 in the Europa League. They will now face well-financed Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in the round of 16 in the European competition.
"We have got two very important Premier League games and if we could get three, four points out of those two games, I would take that now," Pardew told reporters during a press conference.
"It would give us a good angle to go into the next phase of the Europa League," he added.
It might turn out to be a blessing to be playing at home given that Newcastle have only managed to secure two away victories in all competitions this season and have been flirting with the relegation zone for the past months.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino will be aiming to increase his side's chances of avoiding relegation given that the Saints sit just three points clear of the bottom three.
26-year-old standout Jason Puncheon has been leading the talking points of the club in recent weeks after it was floated that he may look to sign with Newcastle and be reunited with Pardew when his contract expires this summer.
Puncheon joined Southampton from Plymouth almost three years ago, but his time at the club has been turbulent. Pochettino will have a relatively healthy squad to select from and will have both Defender Luke Shaw and midfielder Gaston Ramirez available after the pair was recently cleared to play, while defender Jose Fonte remains sidelined with a knee injury.
Midfielder Adam Lallana is poised to make his first start since December and Vegard Forren could make his Premier League debut should the situation present itself.
Kick-off for the match is at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be watched online here.