SOUTHAMPTON, England - By Claire Bloomfield
Southampton need luck on their side if they are going to improve their goal-scoring fortunes, according to midfielder James Ward-Prowse.
The Saints are a creditable ninth in the Premier League but have netted just 14 times in 16 games, the joint second lowest haul in the division.
“I think the strikers need to keep making the runs, keep getting into the box,” said England under-21 captain Ward-Prowse ahead of Sunday’s match at local rivals Bournemouth. “Maybe we need a little bit of luck in front of goal and hopefully we can get that this weekend. I am sure the goal-scoring form will turn around.” Bournemouth, who are 10th, have won five of their last seven home games in the league while Claude Puel’s Southampton have kept four clean sheets in their last five top-flight outings, losing only once.
“It’s obviously going to be a tough one, they’re in a good run of form ... it’s going to be a tasty affair,” said academy product Ward-Prowse, 22.
“It’s a south coast derby so we’re looking to perform well. It’s always a game you want to win even more but we have to be disciplined and controlled in our minds and make sure we are focussed on the task.”
Bournemouth’s 2-0 victory in March was their first league triumph over Southampton in seven attempts since 1958.
”That’s always in the back of your mind,“ said Ward-Prowse. ”We need to make sure we’re ready from the start ... be up for the battle and make sure we fight for it but it’s a game we can win. “It will be a battle of styles and Bournemouth will try and use home advantage and create a hostile atmosphere.”
Ward-Prowse, who has made more than 100 appearances for the club, said Southampton’s players were frustrated with the goalless draw at 10-man Stoke City in midweek.
“We want to win every game so it was unfortunate that we couldn’t pick up the result the other night against Stoke,” he added.
”We learned from that, we debriefed with the manager and now we go again. I think it’s an exciting time for everyone.
“If you don’t get the result you want during the week you’ve always got the chance in a couple of days’ time to put that right,” said Ward-Prowse.
Editing by Tony Jimenez