Southampton finally have an opportunity to build on a much-needed Premier League victory.
Looking to win back-to-back top-flight matches for the first time in well over a year, the Saints host Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday evening at St. Mary's Stadium.
It took four matchdays into the season, but Southampton (1-1-2) finally recorded their first Premier League victory, 2-0 at Crystal Palace on the first day of the month, and right before the international break. Danny Ings continued some early success with his new team by opening the scoring on 47 minutes and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg added a stoppage-time tally to give the Saints the critical three points.
Now, Southampton will try to win consecutive league contests for the first time since April 2017.
"We're looking forward to Monday," manager Mark Hughes told Southampton's official website. "It's been quite some time since we've had back-to-back wins in the Premier League. A home game gives us the best opportunity to rectify that, and hopefully push into the top half of the table, with a view staying there."
Hughes hopes strikers Shane Long (toe) and Charlie Austin (hamstring) will be fit for the contest, but it remains a waiting game for both parties. Ings, who has two of Southampton's four league goals, should be ready after dealing with a blister on his foot.
Southampton might have more than just the homefield advantage in this match, considering they beat Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 in League Cup play last month. Austin scored in the 88th minute of that fixture to give the Saints the road victory.
"Their level of performance has been good, even in the games they haven't won," Brighton manager Chris Hughton told his club's official website. "They are always on the front foot looking to play in the opposition half, particularly if they are at home. That's generally what you will see from a Mark Hughes side."
Brighton (1-1-2) come out of the break following a 2-2 league draw with promoted Fulham, in which they needed to rally for a 2-0 deficit in the second half. Glenn Murray pulled one back for the Seagulls in the 67th minute and equalized the match on a successful penalty conversion in the 84th.
Murray has three of Brighton's five goals over all competitions.
"He's been good," Hughton said. "Glenn goes about his business the right way, he knows what his strengths are and he looks after himself very well."
The Seagulls, whose only win of the season came at home over a shambolic Manchester United squad on Aug. 19, seems fit and ready for this challenge in the port city.
"We're looking OK at the moment," Hughton said. "We're in good shape, some at different levels and some are closer than others. We want to have as strong a squad as possible, and the way to do that is to have players fit and available."
Southampton and Brighton played to a pair of 1-1 draws last season. Murray scored both goals for the Seagulls in those meetings.