Southampton v Derby
Wednesday 16 January, 19:45
Live on BBC One
The Saints revitalised under Ralph
A friend told me the English translation of Hasenhuttl is rabbit hutch and, if true (and I have resisted verifying it as I don't trust him, but hope it is), Ralph Hasenhuttl should be quite good at pulling the rabbit of Premier League survival out of the hat come May. The task of avoiding relegation is his Plan A, but an additional Plan B would be a good cup run. Southampton have certainly shown much better form since the Austrian took charge at St Mary's.
A 2-1 away win at Leicester on Saturday followed draws against Chelsea and Derby and the spring seems to be returning to the Saints' stride. The former Leipzig coach has taken three wins from six Premier League games and his side are now clear of the drop zone, albeit by just one point.
Charlie Austin, Yan Valery and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are all out with suspensions for Wednesday's clash and they are also missing Maya Yoshida who is on Asia Cup duty with Japan. Striker Danny Ings is an injury doubt.
A Ram raid not out of question
Derby arrive on the south coast fresh from losing 2-0 to Leeds in the Championship last Friday, a game that was overshadowed by Spygate. Boss Frank Lampard was incensed by Marcelo Bielsa's tactics, but needs to get his team's focus back on the pitch.
And don't write the Rams off. Their EFL Cup run was built on solid away success where they beat Hull 4-0, beat Manchester United on penalties and narrowly lost 3-2 to Chelsea.
Derby currently occupy the last Championship playoff berth but with the league so tight they need to be on their guard to ward off the chasing pack. And on current form that goal looks shaky having only won once in their last seven matches (D4, L3). They are however a big game side.
Scott Malone could get a start after returning to the bench against Leeds, but Harry Wilson is a doubt with an injury with the Rams desperate to get their nine-goal striker back for this one.
Derby too big and have appeal 5.95/1
The first match between these sides was a 2-2 draw a couple of Saturdays ago, but Southampton threw away a 2-0 lead and could easily end up ruing their lack of killer instinct. A Nathan Redmond brace in the 4th and 48th minute looked to have sent the Saints to the next round, but Derby hit back with a 58th minute Jack Marriott strike and three minutes late Tom Lawrence levelled proceedings.
Both sides have their eyes are firmly on advancement in the league, but Derby's appetite for cup success this season is proven, their fight was there for all to see in the original fixture and their price of 5.95/1 has plenty of appeal.
That said, Southampton have a good track record of late in cup competitions with an FA Cup semi-final appearance last year and a EFL Cup final appearance in the 2016/17 season.
As these two sides replay for the right to take on Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup fourth round Derby's heart is big and it is unlikely they will be battered. The price on them to win could tempt a few, but Derby +1 on the Handicaps at 2.3411/8 is simply glorious.
Goals worth a punt
The last three matches between these two sides in all competitions have gone Over 2.5 Goals and seven of the previous eight meetings have gone over 1.5. There is nothing to suggest goals won't be on the menu again on Wednesday.
Over 2.5 match Goals at 1.784/5 and over 3.5 (as in the first game) at 2.9215/8 could easily bear dividends. Both Teams To Score is priced at 1.845/6 also looks a strong play.
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