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Preview: Southampton vs. Manchester United

Sports Mole previews the clash between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium, as the visitors try to end a disastrous season on a high note.

Manchester United are desperate for this season to be over, but will be keen to finish on a high note on Sunday when they face Southampton at St Mary's Stadium.

The post-Sir Alex Ferguson era has started with a campaign of unwanted records and the sacking of his chosen successor, David Moyes, after just 10 months in charge.

Ryan Giggs will be in interim control for the trip to the South Coast, but it is seemingly only a matter of time until outgoing Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal is announced as United manager for next term.

Giggs has confirmed this week that he will continue his playing career into his 41st year, but the win over Hull City on Wednesday also proved that the Welshman has an eye on the long-term future of the club.

Teenage striker James Wilson scored twice on his Premier League debut, and a couple of Saints stars could be playing alongside him at Old Trafford next season as part of a new-look Red Devils squad.

England internationals Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw have both been linked with moves to Manchester, although they are expected to face competition from Liverpool and Chelsea respectively for the pair.

While the prospect of a £200m war chest has United fans excited for the upcoming transfer window, Southampton supporters will head into the summer with trepidation over the potential snaring of the club's best players, and also their manager, Mauricio Pochettino, who is interesting Tottenham Hotspur.

The Argentine will be without Gaston Ramirez, Maya Yoshida and Kelvin Davis for their season finale, while Jay Rodriguez remains out with the cruciate knee ligament injury that has cost him a World Cup place.

As well as frontman Rickie Lambert, Lallana and Shaw could both make the plane to Brazil, and the Saints faithful will be hopeful that it is not the last time that they see them in their colours.

There are sure to be some goodbyes in the United ranks, with Nemanja Vidic having already agreed to join Inter Milan and Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra other experienced defenders who could be leaving.

Phil Jones is being tipped to be the future of the Old Trafford back line, but he will not feature this weekend after limping off in midweek. Giggs, however, is predicting that he will be fit for Brazil next month.

Wayne Rooney is another who will not be chanced, so Wilson will maintain his place up front alongside Robin van Persie, who could be handed his first start since scoring a hat-trick against Olympiacos on March 19.

United could qualify for the Europa League if they win and Tottenham lose at home to Aston Villa.

Recent form

Southampton: WWDLLW

Man United: WLWLWW

Possible starting lineups

Southampton: Boruc; Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Cork, Davis, Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Lambert

United: De Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Fellaini, Januzaj; Van Persie, Wilson

Sports Mole says: 1-1


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England manager Roy Hodgson looks on at the start of the international friendly football match between England and Scotland on August 14, 2013
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Friday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

ROWING
· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

SWIMMING
· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

TRAMPOLINE
· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

CANOE SLALOM
· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

FOOTBALL
· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

> Today's schedule in full
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