Newcastle United-Southampton Preview
By TOM BENNETT
STATS European Football Writer
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - High on confidence after going two games unbeaten, Southampton welcome Newcastle United to St Mary's on Sunday looking for their third win of the season.
A win and a draw in their last two games marks the first time the Saints (2-2-8) have taken points from back-to-back matches, and as if the team need any extra incentive, they will also be facing former manager Alan Pardew.
"I enjoyed my time there and I am looking forward to going back," said Pardew, who worked at the club before moving to Newcastle in 2010. "There will be some memories because we won a trophy when I was there and we were minus 10 points and we built a side.
"It will be interesting to meet a few of the people there who I had great relationships with. There are some great players there who have done phenomenally well. They have made the transition well. They have acquitted themselves very well and are unlucky not to have won against the Manchester clubs on both occasions."
Despite their recent upturn in form, Southampton are still second from bottom with just eight points from 12 games and have the worst defence in the league. The 30 goals conceded are the most by a Premier League side at this stage of a season since Leeds in 2003, and the Saints are the only team in the top flight yet to keep a clean sheet.
In injury news, Southampton have doubts over Richard Chaplow and Frazer Richardson, but Jack Cork and Morgan Schneiderlin should be fit to continue their promising midfield partnership from the 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers.
"Cork was yet again outstanding - him and Morgan Schneiderlin together," raved manager Nigel Adkins. "I played Jack Cork in every game after I signed him last season. He was called up for the Great Britain team for the Olympics which is a great honour obviously but we didn't have him for pre-season. He came back and in his first game he got injured, he came back after that and got injured straightaway in his comeback game.
"We've not had an opportunity to have Jack Cork and Morgan Schneiderlin together until now. They are two young 23-year-olds who I believe have got so much potential and we can get a good partnership going with them."
Newcastle (3-5-4) have concerns over Pappiss Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa, Gabriel Obertan, Jonas Gutierrez and James Perch, while Yohan Cabaye and Ryan Taylor are out.
Southampton haven't beaten Newcastle in the last eight games in all competitions stretching back to 2002. Pardew's side lost back-to-back EPL matches at home - including a 2-1 defeat to Swansea last Saturday - ahead of the visit to St Mary's, and have just one win in their last seven (1-3-3).
Newcastle's tally of 14 points after 12 games is 11 points less than they had managed by this stage last season.These teams haven't met in the league since the 2004-05 season, when the Magpies won 2-1 home and away.
Updated November 23, 2012