Southampton have a chance to extend their current unbeaten run to six matches as they come up against Championship outfit Sheffield United in the Carabao Cup tonight.
They head to Bramall Lane in fine fettle after drawing 0-0 with Premier League champions Manchester City at the weekend, with the Saints now focused on progressing into the next round of the cup competition.
How many changes will Ralph make from the team which played against City? Here is our predicted XI for the match…
We are predicting that he will make seven changes to the side from Saturday, with Fraser Forster, Romain Perraud, Lyanco, Ibrahima Diallo, Nathan Tella, Moussa Djenepo and Armando Broja all coming into the line-up.
Starting between the sticks, we believe that Hasenhuttl will axe £53k-per-week beast Alex McCarthy to hand Forster a chance to impress. The former Crystal Palace shot-stopper has started all five of the Saints’ Premier League matches and could do with a rest tonight ahead of the clash with Wolves next weekend, allowing Forster to get some minutes under his belt.
We have published an article explaining why Lyanco could make his debut for Southampton against the Blades, but Romain Perraud could also make his way into the back four. Tino Livramento has almost played every single minute for the Saints in the league at right-back and this match provides an opportunity for Kyle Walker-Peters to revert to his more natural position, opening up space for Perraud to play at left-back.
In the midfield, we are predicting that Tella, Djenepo and Diallo will come in for Nathan Redmond, Oriol Romeu and Mohamed Elyounoussi. This is to freshen up the core of the side and give Southampton more energy to be effective in transition play, as well as offering the incoming trio a chance to show Hasenhuttl why they may deserve to be playing in the Premier League matches. whilst keeping James Ward-Prowse in the team to provide leadership in his role as captain.
Finally, we are tipping Hasenhuttl to go with Broja in place of Adam Armstrong up top. The on-loan Chelsea striker scored twice in the 8-0 win over Newport County in the last round and that should earn him another chance to show what he can do from the start against the Blades. If he can find the back of the net again, it could bode well for his chances of playing in the top flight against Wolves next Sunday.