Everton manager Ronald Koeman returns to his former club when the Toffees travel to St Mary’s Stadium on Sunday to face Southampton.

Koeman spent two seasons on the south coast with the Saints and is now undergoing his first year at Goodison Park. Everton have won just five of their 12 Premier League games this season and sit in seventh place with 19 points.

The Dutchman’s replacement Claude Puel is also in his first season in charge and the former Nice boss has had a mixed start to the league.

Southampton have secured just three wins this season, but their results in the Europa League could see them progress to the knockout stages.

Everton underperformed in their last game against relegation battlers, Swansea City, where a late Seamus Coleman equaliser gave the Toffee’s a 1-1 home draw.

The hosts will be looking to bounce back from Europa League defeat to Sparta Prague on Thursday. As far as their Premier League performances are concerned, Saints held title challengers, Liverpool to a goalless draw at St Mary’s last weekend.

Koeman is relishing the chance to return to his former club, but understands that both teams need to get the points.

“It is nice (to be heading back), because me and the technical staff had a great time over there,” he said.

“I hope they (the fans) will respect me. I had a great time and, after my career, I will look back and (think) I had a great time there but I am the Everton manager now and we both need the points.”

Puel will be hopeful of having captain Jose Fonte available as he has been out of action with a foot injury. However, his side will be without midfielder Dusan Tadic, who has suffered a broken nose.

Left-back Matt Targett could again be absent as he continues his recovery from a hamstring problem.

Everton will welcome back midfielder Gareth Barry, who served a one-game ban in last weekend’s draw with Swansea.

Possible Southampton starting XI (4-3-3): Forster; Martina, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand; Clasie, Romeu, Davis; Rodriguez, Austin, Redmond.

Possible Everton starting XI (4-2-3-1): Stekelenburg; Coleman, Williams, Jagielka, Baines; Barry, McCarthy; Mirallas, Barkley, Bolasie; Lukaku.


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