Southampton make the trip to face Sheffield United in the EFL Cup this evening and will be hoping to book their place in last-16 of the competition.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side will be buoyed by their fighting draw against Manchester City on Saturday but changes were expected for tonight given the effort that was put in to claim that crucial point at the reigning Premier League champions.
Sheffield United faced Saints twice in the English top-flight last season but suffered relegation to the Championship after a poor campaign, whilst Slavisa Jokanovic has also replaced Chris Wilder as their manager.
Ahead of the latest meeting between the two clubs, there were some intriguing options for Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl to weigh up.
Broja, Tella and Lyanco all start for Southampton in the cup
Southampton were missing both Theo Walcott and Stuart Armstrong from their trip to City at the weekend after respective thigh and calf issues, although neither issue was considered long-term.
Shane Long and Will Smallbone were back in training after Covid-19 complications and a long-term ACL injury respectively but other players had retained fitness to give Hasenhuttl a strong and competitive squad once again.
During the game at Manchester City though, Jack Stephens was withdrawn in the first-half and this put him in doubt for tonight’s cup fixture. Jan Bednarek, Mohammed Salisu and Lyanco all provide alternative options should Stephens be kept out.
Fans will have been waiting to see which players would be given a start at Bramall Lane this evening. The likes of Nathan Tella, Armando Broja and Yan Valery were all perhaps deserving of a place in the 11 whilst also helping to keep other first-choice players fresh for a big Premier League game against Wolves this coming Sunday.
It was a much-changed squad for the last round of the EFL Cup but the team that played earned Saints a record-equalling 8-0 win at Newport County.
There are also a host of changes tonight as Ralph Hasenhuttl makes nine switches to his starting 11.
Confirmed Sheffield United line-up
Wes Foderingham; Jayden Bogle, Chris Basham, Jack Robinson, Enda Stevens; Oliver Norwood, Luke Freeman, Adlene Guedioura, Iliman Ndiaye, Oli Burke, Oli McBurnie
Subs: John Fleck, Rhian Brewster, Billy Sharp, Michael Verrips, Ben Osborn, Rhys Norrington-Davies, Kacper Lopata
Confirmed Saints line-up
Fraser Forster; Yan Valery, Lyanco, Mohammed Salisu, Romain Perraud; Ibrahima Diallo, Oriol Romeu; Nathan Redmond, Moussa Djenepo; Nathan Tella, Armando Broja
Subs: Kyle Walker-Peters, Shane Long, James Ward-Prowse, Che Adams, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Jan Bednarek, Harry Lewis