SAINTS boss Russell Martin has been impressed with how Cardiff City look under new manager Erol Bulut and is expecting a tough challenge on Saturday at St Mary's.

The Bluebirds are currently ninth in the Championship and were beaten 1-0 by promotion hopefuls West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday.

Saints go into the game on the back of a 10 match unbeaten run and the south coast side will be eager to improve on that number this weekend.

Cardiff City brought in a mixture of free transfers and loan signings in the Summer and the Southampton manager has praised the Welsh club for their recruitment.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Martin said: "They are aggressive and physical. The new manager has come in and stamped his authority on the team.

"I think they have recruited well for the Championship and what he requires. They were on a brilliant run of form but they have hit a little bit of a sticky patch recently.

"They have had some tough games. They are very powerful so it will be a tough game, but it will be an interesting game. It will be interesting to come and see how they will set up.

"If it’s similar or different to Bristol City and Huddersfield, it will be another test for us, another challenge."

The 37 year old claims that his side are ready for their third match of the week and wants his side to overcome the extra rest that Cardiff City have had.

He continued: "I feel like we are in a really good place, third game in a week.

"They have had an extra day of recovery than us, so we have to make sure more than ever that it’s a game that we want it to be and not what they want it to be. I’m looking forward to it."

Saints are currently fourth in the Championship behind Leeds United, while they are eight points behind Ipswich Town who currently hold the second automatic promotion place.

The meeting with Cardiff is the first of seven matches in December, so it will give Martin's side a great opportunity to get closer to their promotion rivals.