Saints v Birmingham. Match preview

Last updated : 15 August 2008 By Morris (southampton)
Alex McLeish's team is considered about the strongest in the division so it's not going to be easy for Saint's young side.

Team news from Sporting Life.

Southampton should welcome back captain Michael Svensson when they host Birmingham at St Mary's.

Svensson, who has made a successful playing comeback after four years of injury misery, was rested for the midweek Carling Cup win at Exeter as his knee is not yet up to playing three games in a week.

The Swede should slot in alongside Chris Perry at the back, with Andrew Davies still recovering from a summer knee operation.

Goalkeeper Kelvin Davis was rested in favour of Bartosz Bialkowski against Exeter and should also come back in.

Rookie striker David McGoldrick has scored three goals in the first two games of the season but may move out to the right of midfield to accommodate Stern John, who came off the bench in midweek having served a suspension on the opening day.

Defender David Murphy should be fit for the trip to the south coast.

The left-back was substituted at half-time during Blues' 4-0 Carling Cup win over Wycombe in midweek having injured his groin.

However, boss Alex McLeish believes he will be fit come Saturday, saying: "He over-stretched and slipped. The surface was pretty tough and he almost did the splits, it gave him a wee tweak in the groin. We hope that he will make it at the weekend."

Defenders Stephen Kelly (groin) and Radhi Jaidi (back) also return to the fold but Damien Johnson (back) is still out.

McLeish has several selection decisions to make, most notably in attack where Kevin Phillips, Marcus Bent, Cameron Jerome, James McFadden and Garry O'Connor will all be vying for the two starting berths.

Quincy Owusu-Abeyie could start on the wing after his impressive goalscoring debut against Wanderers.