COVENTRY CITY head to Premier League Southampton in the FA Cup this weekend backed by more than 5,000 travelling supporters as they look to cause an upset and reach the fifth round.
The Sky Blues beat fellow Championship side Derby County 1-0 in the previous round thanks to Dom Hyam’s header shortly before half-time.
Their opponents Southampton overcame an early red card to beat Swansea City 3-2 at the Swansea.com Stadium after extra-time.
Coventry currently sit 10th in the Championship table, five points outside of the play-off places whilst Saints are 12th in the Premier League sitting comfortably in mid-table.
The Sky Blues were beaten 1-0 at Middlesbrough last weekend, as City failed to take their chances despite producing a good display at the Riverside Stadium.
Coventry did win their previous away game however, as they romped to a 4-1 at Peterborough United in what was arguably their best performance of the season.
Southampton ended Manchester City’s 12-game winning run with a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s Stadium as Saints produced a near faultless defensive effort.
And the South Coast club are unbeaten in their last eight home matches in the Premier League and have proven difficult to beat.
Mark Robins looks set to have a full complement of players available to choose from ahead of this weekend’s clash.
Saints are set to be without goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (hamstring) and youngster Nathan Tella (groin) with both players expected to return in mid-February.
Coventry – Gustavo Hamer – Sky Blues fans will be itching to see whether Hamer is capable of performing against Premier League opposition having been linked with a move away from the club in the January transfer window.
The Brazilian could hold the key to unlocking a well disciplined Saints defence and has the ability to conjure up some FA Cup magic with a long range strike if necessary.
Southampton – James Ward-Prowse – Up against Hamer in midfield is likely to be England international Ward-Prowse who has enjoyed an impressive season in the top-flight this campaign.
Known for his spectacular set-pieces, Ward-Prowse has scored 12 goals from direct free-kicks in the Premier League to put him joint second for most free-kick goals in the division and often sets the tempo as the key player in Ralph Hasenhüttl’s squad.
The two teams last met in the league in April 2012 when City were thrashed 4-0 at St Mary’s as Southampton secured their return to the Premier League after a seven-year absence with Adam Lallana amongst the scorers.
And they last met in the FA Cup in January 2012 with Coventry edged out 2-1 at the CBS Arena in which Ward-Prowse scored Saints equaliser in the third round tie.
City’s last win against Saints came in October 2008 as Coventry eased to a 4-1 win with Jay Tabb grabbing a brace and Leon McKenzie and Leon Best also on target.
The Sky Blues have an extremely close head-to-head record against Southampton having won 49, drawn 45 and lost 47 games across 141 meetings.
Southampton 3-1 Coventry – It will be a tough task for the Sky Blues but with over 5,000 travelling supporters behind them will hope to cause an upset and reach the fifth round.
Coventry’s FA Cup tie with Southampton takes place on Saturday, February 5 with kick-off at 3pm at St Mary’s Stadium.