Football Preview

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins
Southampton boss Nigel Adkins Photo: Sang Tan/AP/Press Association Images

After opening their Premier League account and winning a place in the fourth round of the League Cup there's a lot of optimism at St Mary's this week. At his weekly press conference yesterday Nigel Adkins certainly looked like he has lots of reasons to be cheerful.

He told us the Saints are relishing tomorrow's game at Everton - it sees Adkins returning to his Merseyside roots and will be an extra special fixture for Liverpool fan Rickie Lambert.

They will be without midfielder Jack Cork though, the 23 year old limped off against Sheffied Wednesday in midweek after suffering a knee injury that'll keep him out for a couple of weeks.

There's reasons to be cheerful at Reading too. The Royals are still looking for their first League win but can be encouraged by Wednesday night's victory against QPR which earned them a home tie against Arsenal in the Fourth Round of the Capital One Cup.

Manager Brian McDermott told us yesterday his side 'can't wait' for the visit of Newcastle in front of a sell-out crowd at the Madejski.

Brighton could extend their lead at the top of the Championship to five points with a win at home to Birmingham tomorrow. Deadline day signing Stephen Dobbie could start for the first time.

In League One Bournemouth host Walsall - the Cherries now have former Pompey and England keeper David James training with them. Portsmouth play Scunthorpe at Fratton Park and Swindon striker James Colins faces his old club Shrewsbury.

And in League Two Gillingham can stretch their lead at the top to nine points with a win at home to Rochdale. Aldershot are without suspended Peter Vincenti and Oxford are battling against what boss Chris Wilder says is the club's worst ever injury crisis.