Preview | Swansea City v Southampton
Swansea City will return to action for the first time in nearly a month when they host Southampton in the third round of the FA Cup this evening (5.30pm).
Russell Martin's side have not played since the Championship fixture against Nottingham Forest on December 11, with Covid-19 cases leading to the postponement of away fixtures against QPR and Millwall, as well as home games against Luton and Fulham.
In addition, sadly this game will be played behind closed doors owing to restrictions put in place by the Welsh Government.
It deprives the Jack Army of the chance to cheer on their side in trying to cause an upset against the Premier League Saints.
The Swans endured a run of three defeats prior to this enforced period without a game, and will be eager to bounce back at the earliest opportunity.
Saints will start as favourites given their top-flight status, but have found results hard to come by on their travels.
Head coach Martin was able to welcome a number of players back to training during the latter stages of this week as they completed their periods of isolation owing to Covid.
It remains to be seen how many of those players are available given their enforced break from training, but the Swans boss was confident of being in a position to field a strong side.
Kyle Joseph is cup-tied following his recall from a loan spell at Cheltenham Town.
Southampton have absentees of their own with Tino Livramento, Che Adams and Kyle Walker-Peters among six players ruled out of the trip to South Wales.
Russell Martin: "I am looking forward to seeing how we face up to the challenge.
"They will be favourites, they are a Premier League club and they are a good side who have benefited from working under their manager for some time.
"They have good depth and some exciting young talent, but we want to put on a performance and do our utmost to try and get through to the next round.
"It's important for us on many fronts, we want to get people back out on the pitch and we are excited to get back to playing after a while."
Ralph Hasenhuttl: “We have Tino Livramento and Will Smallbone, two players still out with injury.
“We have Kyle Walker-Peters with a new Covid case, Thierry Small and Ché Adams to make it three Covid cases.
“Against Tottenham we had five but we still played and we are hoping to not get more cases but you never know, but at the moment we are without these players.
“And Salisu serves a suspension for the weekend.”
Remember the last time?
We'd rather not remember the last time, if we're honest. The Swans and the Saints have not met in a competitive fixture since a crunch Premier League relegation clash in May 2018.
Sub Monolo Gabbiadini settled a nervy encounter in SA1, with the Italian making the most of a scramble following a corner in the 73rd minute.
Carlos Carvalhal’s side pushed and probed, but they couldn’t muster the quality needed in the final third to find a breakthrough.
It left Swansea's survival hopes hanging by a thread, and Huddersfield's draw against Chelsea the following night all-but confirmed the drop.
3 - Southampton have been something of a bogey side for the Swans, with the hosts winning just three of the last 14 meetings, drawing four and losing seven.
9 - Remarkably this is the first time in nine years that Swansea have been handed a home draw in the third round of the FA Cup. Since hosting Arsenal in 2013, they have faced trips to Manchester United, Tranmere, Oxford, Hull, Wolves, Aston Villa, QPR and Stevenage.