'A big goal for us' - Why Southampton travel to Newcastle United with extra incentive
Ralph Hasenhuttl is striving to end Southampton’s poor record at St James’s Park – but is fully aware of the challenge Newcastle United pose.
The Saints travel to Tyneside having not tasted victory here since January 2015 when it ended in a 2-1 scoreline.
Last season’s meeting was a dramatic encounter as Steve Bruce’s side, down to nine men for the final 18 minutes, held on for a 3-2 victory.
The visitors head to the North East full of confidence after recording their biggest ever away in (8-0) at Newport County in the Carabao Cup.
Newcastle, meanwhile, suffered a penalty shootout defeat to Burnley, adding to the Premier League defeats against West Ham United and Aston Vila.
Ending the Saints’ St James’s Park hoodoo is a “big goal” for Hasenhuttl and his players.
He said: “After the last two games to go to Newcastle where our history is not really the biggest one, to show up there and change this is a big goal for us.
“After the first game when we lost against Everton we have shown a different face and this is also what we need to show against Newcastle.
“It’s a tough game like every year. We haven’t played our best games there and we need to play a good one or we cannot take something there.
"I’m looking forward to turning things around at this ground.”
In the words of Hasenhuttl, it won’t be an easy task as he talked up Newcastle’s attacking talent.
Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Joe Willock are all expected to start.
Saint-Maximin provided two assists in the pair’s previous meeting – setting up Willock’s opener, his first of eight goals during his loan spell from Arsenal.
"It's not so difficult to see their qualities up front,” Hasenhuttl when asked about the threat Bruce’s men bring.
"They have a lot of speed and dribbling qualities and scoring goals in the frontline and, at the back, they're a very good organised back five.
"It's not easy to create chances and especially with their speed and dribbling qualities, they're always a hard to defend team."