Hasenhuttl promises Southampton’s best XI for Pompey clash
Southampton play against Portsmouth for the first time in over seven years on Tuesday as the South Coast derby returns.
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The two South Coast cities are just 18 miles apart and the port cities just do not like one another. Not one bit.
Premier League Saints head to League One Pompey as the red hot favorites to advance to the last 16 of the League Cup, but with local pride on the line and two fired-up fanbases expectant, Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl knows it will not be easy.
That is why he is picking his best possible team.
“I will pick the strongest XI that I can put on the pitch because we know about the importance of the game,” Hasenhuttl said. “Every member of this club is looking forward to this game because we have a big chance to rewrite the history in our way. It is not about thinking what we can lose there, it is about thinking what we can win there. We can win a lot there.”
Hasenhuttl confirmed that Nathan Redmond may only be on the bench to start with as he rushed back to play in the 3-1 defeat to Bournemouth on Friday, while star winger Moussa Djenepo remains out injured with a muscle problem.
Focusing on what will be a lively atmosphere at Fratton Park, Hasenhuttl called for calm from both sets of fans.
“What I want to see is a football celebration. From two teams who do everything to win. This is what I want,” Hasenhuttl said.
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett, who has his side fourth from bottom in the third-tier of English soccer after a slow start to the season, was asked by Sky Sports if they can cause an upset.
“Of course we can,” Jackett said. “You can get things right on the day. Particularly with it being a home game, I think that really helps us.”
Local pride is on the line on and off the pitch, and Pompey v. Saints is a fixture which is rarely played due to both teams either falling on tough times or having their better years at totally different times.
In the past 31 years there have been only 10 games between these teams. That makes this passionate derby even more intense.
The pressure will be on Saints to win big, and if they don’t then Hasenhuttl and his players know extra pressure will be piled on them for the rest of their Premier League season.