Southampton will be hoping for a smooth progression through to Round Three of the League Cup when they face League Two outfit Newport County tonight.
Ralph Hasenhuttl was expected to make changes to his side in a bid to keep things fresh for the Premier League fixture against Newcastle on Saturday, but his second string 11 should have enough quality to come through this one.
Newport will want progression of their own though and will be backed by a full crowd at Rodney Parade. They also have an impressive record in domestic cup competitions in recent years.
The Exiles saw off Ipswich in this year’s League Cup 1st Round and ran Newcastle and Brighton close in the cups last season. Their best run came back in 2018/19 when they earned themselves a home Last-16 tie in the FA Cup against Man City.
Southampton face Newport for the first time since 1968
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Ahead of tonight’s game, Newport have had to overcome the absence of their manager Michael Flynn after he reported Covid-19 symptoms last week. Flynn’s assistant manager Wayne Hatswell will be the man in charge versus Saints.
Via newport_county.co.uk, the hosts were said to be receiving a potential boost with the return of captain Matty Dolan this evening after he missed their 1-0 win over Tranmere Rovers at the weekend.
Saints did not report any injury worries from their 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday but, as mentioned before, changes were expected by Ralph Hasenhuttl for this cup tie.
Theo Walcott, Romain Perraud and Moussa Djenepo were substituted off in the United game but it appears that this was a tactical change by the Saints boss and all three players would have been available for selection to face Newport.
Headlines from the breaking line-ups are that Saints make nine changes to their side for this game, with just Jack Stephens and James Ward-Prowse staying in from the start.
Confirmed Newport line-up
Townsend; Hall, Farquharson, Dolan, Clarke, Lewis, Missilou, Bennett, Azaz, Willmott, Abraham
Subs: Day, Haynes, Upson, Ellison, Collins, Hylton, Greenidge
Confirmed Saints line-up
Forster; Valery, Stephens, Bednarek, Walker-Peters; Diallo, Ward-Prowse; Redmond, Elyounoussi; Broja, Tella
Subs: Lewis, Perraud, Salisu, Romeu, Walcott, Long, Obafemi