Get the lowdown ahead of Saturday's FA Cup Fourth Round tie between Southampton and Watford at St Mary's...
Southampton vs Watford
Saturday 27th January 2018, 3:00pm GMT
St Mary’s Stadium
Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
A promising and committed performance against Tottenham last weekend will give Saints hope of building some mid-season momentum ahead of the visit of Watford on Saturday.
Add to that the fact that Mauricio Pellegrino’s men were controversially denied victory at Vicarage Road when these two sides met in the Premier League a fortnight ago, the home side will be confident of reaching the FA Cup Fifth Round for the first time since the 2013/14 season.
What is certain is that a new opposite number will be standing across from Pellegrino in the away dugout; former Malaga coach Javi Gracia is set to make his managerial debut after taking over from the dismissed Marco Silva during the week.
This will be the first FA Cup meeting meeting between the pair since their semi-final encounter in April 2003, a Brett Ormerod-inspired Saints prevailing 2-1 at Villa Park.
Southampton: Mauricio Pellegrino has been without deputy captain Maya Yoshida for the past two weeks, but the Japanese international is poised to return to the fold this weekend.
Shane Long meanwhile has been training as usual and is expected to return to the matchday squad after recovering from an illness. Saturday's tie may come too soon however for new striker Guido Carrillo.
Watford: Incoming Watford coach Gracia is likely to be without Troy Deeney for his first game in charge; the captain is yet to train this week because of sickness.
Heurelho Gomes is sidelined with a back problem, meaning Greek goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis is in line for his second successive start.
The absence of Molla Waguè (hamstring) leaves Sebastian Prödl and Adrian Mariappa to battle it out to partner Christian Kabasele at centre-back.
Southampton’s previous five:
Tottenham (h) D 1-1
Watford (a) D 2-2
Fulham (a) W 1-0
Crystal Palace (h) L 1-2
Manchester United (a) D 0-0
Watford's previous five:
Leicester (a) L 0-2
Southampton (h) D 2-2
Bristol City (h) W 3-0
Man City (a) W 3-1
Swansea (h) L 1-2
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Three goals in all competitions this month ensure that James Ward-Prowse is very much the centre of attention at St Mary’s once more.
It was the midfielder’s composed finished at Craven Cottage that sent Saints through to the Fourth Road and brace at Watford that perhaps ought to have earned all three points the following week.
Another industrious performance against Spurs showed that James is starting to hit a timely run of form at a crucial moment in Southampton’s season.
Top scorers: Charlie Austin (6), Steven Davis (3), Manolo Gabbiadini (3), Dušan Tadić (3), James Ward-Prowse (3)
Most assists: Ryan Bertrand (4), Nathan Redmond (3), Dušan Tadić (2)
Brazilian Richarlison has been an obvious standout for the Hornets, scoring and assisting 10 times so far this term.
Abdoulaye Doucouré has also been a major success story at Vicarage Road. A powerful box-to-box runner, the midfielder has scored in all of his three previous matches against Southampton.
Top scorers: Abdoulaye Doucouré (7), Richarlison (5), André Gray (4)
Most assists: Richarlison (5), Jose Holebas, Tom Cleverley, André Gray, Troy Deeney (all 3)
Previous four meetings:
January 2018: Watford 2-2 Southampton (Ward-Prowse 2)
September 2017: Southampton 0-2 Watford
March 2017: Watford 3-4 Southampton (Tadić, Redmond 2, Gabbiadini)
August 2016: Southampton 1-1 Watford (Redmond)
NOT AT THE GAME?
Don’t worry if you can’t make it to St Mary’s! Relax at home and follow along with our interactive match centre at southamptonfc.com, where we will have all the build-up, as well as in-game updates and free live audio commentary.
Additionally, be sure to follow us on our various social channels for behind-the-scenes access and further updates: