PREPARED Jermain Defoe says he will not be influenced by a hostile reception from Southampton fans during Sunday's south coast showdown.

The Cherries striker is vying for a starting opportunity having impressed after coming off the bench for the final 26 minutes of Wednesday’s 2-1 loss against Burnley.

Defoe is likely to be given a hot response at Vitality Stadium (1.30pm) from the travelling fans, due to his previous spell at Portsmouth.

Asked whether he would expect an unfriendly reaction, the striker told the Daily Echo: “I don’t care, they can do whatever they want to do. It’s another game and we are going to try to win.

“I have scored a few goals past them over the years. As a player it is not something I think about.

"If they boo me, they boo me, it’s fine.

“If I played for Southampton they would cheer me but I don’t play for Southampton.

“It’s no problem, it’s just football.”

The 35-year-old has netted six times against Saints throughout his illustrious Premier League career.

His first goal against the St Mary’s side came for West Ham in a 1-1 draw in April 2003.

He notched a hat-trick for Spurs during a 5-1 win in December the following year, while he scored on two occasions against Southampton during his recent spell at Sunderland.

Having featured in a vast number of north London derbies, as well as more recently the Tyne-Wear derby, the frontman realises the importance of Cherries’ clash with neighbours Saints.

“Derby games are the ones you want to win and the games you look for when the fixtures come out,” he added.

“It’s the game you want to play in and it means a lot to the players and the fans.

“You have to approach it like it is another game and we have to get three points.

“It’s a game our fans will be up for and we want to try to win.

“For bragging rights and things like that it will be a massive three points if we can beat them.”

Having made his return from a recent calf injury, Defoe is now concentrating on a busy December schedule for Cherries.

The clash with Southampton is the start of eight encounters in the calendar month.

And he believes the run of fixtures can provide a boost for Eddie Howe’s men in their bid to rise up the table. He added: “We

have so many big games coming up in a short space of time, which is nice.

“When you have lost you just want the next one to come around quickly and, luckily enough, there is no better fixture to have.”

Defoe got off the mark for the campaign in September against Brighton & Hove Albion, in a 2-1 win for Cherries.

Should he find the net against Saints, he would reach 200 career league goals.