Only four days ago we saw Stoke City crumble at the hands of Southampton, but this time they will host Ronald Koeman's side in the Capital One Cup in a repeat clash the two line-ups could be very different to those picked for the Premier League showdown at St Mary's.
Southampton have been on fire this season and are a side not be messed with based on current form. Their only defeats since Koeman's arrival in the summer have come against Liverpool and Spurs, a run which has left the vast majority of analysts stunned.
Some even said that the club could face relegation, but their fearsome form shows that they could challenge for European qualification at their very best.
EUROPE A REALISTIC AMBITION
It is so far unknown whether they will reach Europe through a Premier League finish position, or Capital One Cup victory, but a win against Stoke will point them in the right direction to achieve their new goal.
The Dutch boss is expected to make several changes as he will be keen to save his starlets for league success but could welcome younger talents for the likes of Lloyd Isgrove and Sam Gallagher.
INJURY WOES FOR BOTH QUARTER-FINAL HOPEFULS
But Saints will still be without long-term absentees Jay Rodriguez and James Ward-Prowse who are struggling with injuries of a more serious calibre.
On the other hand, Mark Hughes has several injury worries of his own. Phil Bardsley may sit this one out as a precaution with a slight back injury and fellow defender Robert Huth will be unavailable after a calf injury sustained in training which will be scanned in the near future.
STRONG SCORING RECORD AGAINST STOKE BODES WELL
Southampton have endured a much more bumpy ride in order to reach this stage of the tournament as they narrowly scraped tagainst Arsenal at the Emirates in the last round, while the Potters have beaten Portsmouth and Sunderland comfortably to reach the last 16.
Koeman should relish the fact that Saints have scored in their previous 11 visits to the Britannia, on top of Stoke's recent hit-and-miss home form. But Mark Hughes will be aiming to reach the quarter finals for a second successive season after being defeated in that round by Manchester United last year.
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