Southampton face a potentially tricky trip to Newport County in the Carabao Cup second round on Wednesday night, but Ralph Hasenhuttl can overwhelm the League Two side by unleashing Nathan Tella.
The likes of Leeds United, Watford and Leicester City have come unstuck in cup competitions at Rodney Parade in recent seasons and Southampton will be desperate to avoid an upset against the Exiles as they target their first domestic trophy since 2010.
Whilst experience will likely be required if they are to beat Newport inside 90 minutes tonight, the match also represents a good opportunity to give youngsters such as Tella their first starts of the season.
Despite a superb pre-season, the 22-year-old has played just 10 minutes in the opening two Premier League games of the new campaign, so he will be raring to show what he can do if handed a start in Wales.
The former Arsenal youngster is capable of playing either on the wing or up front for Southampton and could do serious damage against Newport’s backline, which is unlikely to possess the sort of pace to deal with Tella.
Hasenhuttl was full of praise for the winger last season, saying: “This is an important season for him. We tried to give him game time. The way we’ve tried to develop him is a good one.
“He’s the biggest talent we have at the moment. He had a bad injury. I see him performing like he does at the moment, I enjoy watching it. A big praise for the academy.”
Therefore, the manager is clearly a big fan of the Saints youngster; and after less than impressive performances from the likes of Moussa Djenepo and Theo Walcott in the opening league fixtures, this should be Tella’s opportunity to show what he can do and outline why he should be in contention for a starting spot against Newcastle United at the weekend.