Aston Villa-Southampton Preview
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Southampton will be looking for their first point of the Premier League season when they host Aston Villa at St Mary's on Saturday afternoon.
The Saints have lost all four of their games, conceding 14 goals in the process. However, three of those defeats have come against the might of Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal, so speculation that Nigel Adkins' job is under threat was laughed off by the manager in his Thursday press conference.
"It doesn't affect me," said Adkins. "I don't read the newspapers. I've got a great working relationship with the chairman here at Southampton and we share a common goal. We've had a great couple of seasons and there is stability here at Southampton so we don't even think about things like that.
"I have got my own desire to keep winning games of football because we have that winning mentality here at Southampton. There is a desire that we keep being strong and improving. I think if you're looking over your shoulder thinking 'Well, if I don't win this one' your mind is going to be affected in different ways so I don't even think about that. At some stage in the future, like in every job, there will be a parting of ways a long way down the line. All we are doing right now is concentrating on what we're doing."
Aston Villa picked up their first win of the season last time out with a 2-0 victory over Swansea, and Paul Lambert has also shaken up the squad by switching the captaincy - a decision that he explained ahead of the meeting with Southampton.
"I just wanted to give Darren (Bent) a break, I just wanted him to concentrate on scoring goals," said the Villa boss. "I think Darren at Newcastle the other week and against Swansea was excellent. He is playing well, but I thought I would change it and let him just concentrate on scoring goals."
Summer signing Ron Vlaar is the new Villa skipper, and the defender was delighted upon hearing the news ahead of the win over Swansea.
"The manager said before kick-off that I was captain on Saturday and that was a very positive signal from the manager to me," said Vlaar. "I don't know exactly how it will go on but I don't want to let him down and, hopefully, it will be important for the team.
"I was captain of Feyenoord for the last two years and that was a team which was very young. I'm 27 and I feel I'm experienced so I'm used to it now. The team spirit was really great on Saturday. That's the way we have to play. If we do that, our quality will shine through."
Southampton have doubts over Jos Hooiveld (calf), Steve De Ridder (knock) and Jack Cork (ankle), while Villa are without Richard Dunne (groin), Gary Gardner (knee) and Marc Albrighton (foot).
Southampton have lost six and drawn the remaining two of their last eight games against Saturday's opponents. Villa's win over Swansea ended a run of 12 games without a victory in the Premier League.
Updated September 20, 2012