No new worries for Koeman

first_img Press Association The ex-Feyenoord boss admitted it will be “strange” to face two consecutive contests with Mark Hughes’ Stoke side – but said it will not affect selection. Southampton will take on Hull City three days after their midweek league cup clash with Stoke, and Koeman will seek consistency in selection over easing his players’ workload. “The most important is the first one,” said Koeman. “It’s a little bit strange playing twice against Stoke, then Hull away. “But we’d like to win them all. “In that case maybe I’ll make some changes for Wednesday, but I don’t make too many changes because we don’t have that big a group of players and we like to win. “Normally it’s possible to make two or three maximum changes, but that’s after Saturday – this first game is the most important.” Stoke manager Mark Hughes has warned Southampton counterpart Koeman to expect a far rougher ride this weekend compared to their recent stroll against Sunderland. Southampton have no new injury concerns ahead of three games in eight days. Koeman will make precious few changes for Wednesday’s immediate Capital One Cup rematch with Stoke, ahead of next weekend’s away league trip to Hull. On the back of a run of five wins in their last six league matches, Koeman’s side are a heady third in the table and will no doubt be confident of adding Stoke to their recent list of scalps. Hughes, though, has no doubt his side will give Southampton more of a run for their money, even though they were beaten 3-1 by Sunderland themselves just three weeks ago. “It was an outstanding result,” said Hughes of Southampton’s win over the Black Cats. “It doesn’t matter at what level you play. To beat another team 8-0 is an outstanding performance. “We go there with them on an obvious high given the performance and result, but we’re in a confident mood ourselves. “We won last time out, so we’d like to think we’ll make a better fist of it – should I suggest. “We’ll recognise the talent and ability they have in their squad, but we’ve plenty of that ourselves, so they know it will be a difficult game for them. “It’s up to us to make sure (the win over Sunderland) was a one-off performance and result, and is not something that will influence our game.” Back-to-back home wins – after starting the season with consecutive home defeats – have helped propel Stoke up to a respectable 10th in the table. Hughes feels after the early-season blip the critics were too hasty to write off his team, adding: “At the beginning of the year I think everybody’s view was shaped very, very quickly. “As a consequence of losing our first two home games people assumed we’d had a really poor start, which wasn’t really the case. “We’ve done okay, and now we’ve had back-to-back home wins which have really encouraged us, and we’ve been okay on our travels, probably better than we were this time last year. “So we’re quite happy with where we are at the moment.” Hughes goes into the game at St Mary’s without midfielder Glenn Whelan who has a fractured leg sustained on international duty, while full-back Phil Bardsley is doubtful with a back problem. Ronald Koeman can select the same squad that thumped Sunderland 8-0 for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Stoke at St Mary’s.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *