Daily Echo:

Saints face the prospect of going two months with just a single home game and playing away four times in a row if their game against West Ham gets switched.

The release of next season’s fixture list threw up a major potential problem for Saints, as they are scheduled to play the Hammers at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday, August 19 – the second weekend of the campaign.

However, the stadium will be unavailable that weekend as it cannot be returned to ‘football mode’ in time after hosting the world athletics championships.

That leaves just two options – either postpone the game and play it later in the season, leaving both clubs with a fortnight between their opening two Premier League matches, or to reverse the home and away matches.

Saints are due to host West Ham on Saturday, March 31, but if the game was changed to an away fixture so the sides could meet at St Mary’s in August, Saints would have a run of four consecutive away games that would see them travel to Newcastle, Swansea, West Ham and Arsenal in successive fixtures.

It would also leave their home match against Stoke as the only game at St Mary’s between the February 10 clash with Liverpool and the fixture against Chelsea on April 14.

No conclusion has yet been reached on what will happen, even though it is understood the Premier League were aware of the issue before the fixtures were officially published.

West Ham said in a statement: "As previously confirmed, our opening fixtures in August will be played away from home as London Stadium welcomes the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships for a once-in-a-generation occasion.

"Supporters are therefore advised that our second fixture of the campaign, against Southampton, will be rescheduled, with further details to follow."

Tottenham also have a similar problem with their home game against Burnley, which is due to take place on a weekend that their temporary home at Wembley is being used for rugby.

Saints fans also have a tricky potential trip to Tottenham on Boxing Day when there is unlikely to be any public transport to get to the home of football.

The fixture-compiling process is not able to begin until the 20-team line-up is confirmed following the Championship play-off final, which this year saw Huddersfield defeat Reading on penalties to take their place in the Premier League for the first time.

All the variables add up to a testing conundrum for Glenn Thompson, technical architect at Atos, the Premier League's digital partner which helps deliver the schedule.

"You can't satisfy everyone. It's a compromise across all clubs; you can't do anything to favour any one club," said Thompson.

"Traditionally the Premier League, the Football League and Atos representatives will review the fixtures for two days, looking at every date in the season to make sure that, wherever possible, we have met everything we have been asked to.

"The computer is very useful during the review because if we do not want a certain fixture on a particular date, it will give us alternate dates for that fixture to be moved to. It can be that changing one match may require 40 other changes."

The Premier League's fixture list is also always published as being "subject to change", with TV selections still to be made as well as accommodating European and domestic cup competitions.

Saints played only 19 of their 38 Premier League fixtures on the dates originally announced last season.

The first batch of televised matches will be confirmed on July 10.