WHEN Saints return after the international break, Russell Martin's side will be looking to maintain their current eight-game unbeaten run.

The south coast side have regained crucial ground to their promotion rivals following a bitterly disappointing September and now sit inside the playoffs.

With important wins over Hull City and West Brom in their last five games, Southampton will feel as though momentum is on their side.

Here we assess who Saints face in their next five matches and what can be expected...

Opponent: Huddersfield (Away)

Date: Saturday, November 25

Position in the table: 21st

Key player: Michal Helik

Southampton will be without manager Martin when they return to league action on Saturday after the former Scotland international earned a one-game touchline ban against West Brom.

Despite that, Saints should head to the John Smith's Stadium confident of extending their unbeaten run against a Huddersfield side who have won just one of their last 10 games.

Defender Helik is Huddersfield's top scorer this season with four goals and could pose a threat from set-pieces.

Opponent: Bristol City (Home)

Date: Wednesday, November 29

Position in the table: 11th

Key player: Zak Vyner

Southampton welcome Bristol City to St Mary's in the first of two back-to-back home games next week.

The Robins, who recently appointed Liam Manning, are having a middling season so far, winning six, drawing four and losing six of their first 16 games.

Vyner was reportedly the subject of interest from Saints this summer, but the defender remained at Ashton Gate and has continued to be a solid presence at the back.

Opponent: Cardiff City (Home)

Date: Saturday, December 2

Position in the table: 9th

Key player: Emmanouil Siopis

Martin has a history of beating Cardiff having become the first manager to do the double in the South Wales derby during his time at Swansea, before repeating the same feet the following season.

He will hope to continue that when he faces them for the first time as Southampton manager next Saturday.

Opponent: Watford (Away)

Date: Saturday, December 9

Position in the table: 13th

Key player: Mileta Rajovic

Watford have started to find their way this season after a disappointing start to the season - their 4-0 win over QPR was the only early bright spot.

Unbeaten in six, Valerin Ismael's side have earned 12 points during that spell. Only Southampton and Leeds United have picked up more across the last five games in the Championship.

Opponent: Coventry (Away)

Date: Wednesday, December 13

Position in the table: 20th

Key player: Joel Latibeaudiere

Having reached the Championship play-off final last season, losing to Luton Town at Wembley, Coventry have started this season terribly.

They recruited well in the summer signing Ellis Simms, Haji Wright and Jay Dasilva, among others, but are yet to get going.

Without a win in six games, they currently sit just five points above the relegation zone.

Latibeaudiere will be familiar to Martin, having worked with him at Swansea, as will fellow defender Jake Bidwell.