Saints March Towards New Era With Carabao Cup Clash With League One Owls


After a damning 4-1 home defeat to Newcastle United on Sunday, Southampton finally pulled the plug on manager Ralph Hassenhuttl after deep unrest amongst supporters. Now, with negotiations ongoing with Luton Town’s Nathan Jones, First Team Coach Rubén Sellés will take charge as the Premier League side welcome Sheffield Wednesday.

As Joseph Willock poked home a third past Gavin Bazunu to seal three points for the Magpies, there was an air of inevitability about the fate of the 55-year-old Austrian.

Over his near four year tenure, the former RB Leipzig boss endured a plethora of highs and lows, including surviving two record 9-0 defeats to Leicester City and Manchester United respectively.

However, the club showed faith to Hassenhuttl due to him keeping the team in the league consistently on a limited budget. This, paired with a belief in his footballing philosophy and ideology, resulted in the full backing of the club through some difficult periods.

At one stage after the first 9-0 defeat in 2019, Hassenhuttl himself even proclaimed that he ‘expected to be sacked’ after such a result.

Despite this, after three wins in their last 20 Premier League games, and with the club currently in the relegation zone, the board decided to pull the plug.

Now, less than a year after the club changed ownership to the Sport Republic group, Luton Town manager Nathan Jones is being tipped to take the permanent role, after Luton Town granted him permission to speak to the south coast club.

Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday have endured difficult times of their own as they were relegated to the third tier of English football in 2021, and failed to gain promotion at the first attempt after losing a play-off semi-final clash with eventual winners Sunderland.

17 games into their League One campaign, Darren Moore’s side sit 3rd, just three points behind Ipswich Town in 2nd.

The Yorkshire side are now unbeaten for a month in all competitions, (five wins, two draws) with their last defeat coming to table-topping Plymouth Argyle at Home Park.

Victories at Hillsborough over Sunderland and Rochdale have seen Wednesday into the Third Round of this season’s Carabao Cup, with the club also progressing in the FA Cup on Friday night with a 2-0 win over league rivals Morecambe.

On the other hand, Southampton have only featured in one cup game this season, that being their comfortable Carabao Cup Second Round win at Cambridge United back in August.

In said cup victory, Hassenhuttl named a strong team made up of first team and squad players, with the inclusion of one young debutant by the name of Lewis Payne.

Aged just 18, Payne grabbed his opportunity by the scruff of the neck by getting the assist for Southampton’s first goal of the game, before fellow youngster Dominic Ballard came off the bench to score on his debut.

Neither featured for the U21’s at the weekend, which could suggest inclusion for the Carabao Cup clash.

Sheffield Wednesday also made concerted changes in the previous rounds, though they have yet to come up against an outfit the level of Southampton.

The Saints will be without long-term absentees Valentino Livramento and Kyle Walker-Peters, whilst Sheffield Wednesday have a player of their own out long term in Akin Famewo.

In a period of transition for Southampton, this game will provide an opportunity to make an impression on any incoming manager for increased future involvement in the effort to avoid relegation to the Championship.

As for Sheffield Wednesday, this game poses a free hit against a fragile Premier League side, with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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