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Ralph Hasenhuttl says Southampton have squad strength to cope with Newport

Southampton v Manchester United – Premier League – St. Mary’s Stadium
(Image credit: Andrew Matthews)

Ralph Hasenhuttl believes Southampton have greater squad depth than before to handle a Carabao Cup trip to renowned giant-killers Newport.

Despite losing Danny Ings, Jannik Vestergaard and Ryan Bertrand to Premier League rivals this summer, Hasenhuttl is confident his young Saints can negotiate a tricky second-round tie at Rodney Parade.

League Two Newport have taken the cup scalps of Leeds, Leicester and Watford in recent seasons, while Brighton and Newcastle needed penalties to progress in knockout ties at Rodney Parade last term.

“This season we have a little bit more alternatives on the bench, not only academy players but the side is bigger,” Hasenhuttl said ahead of Wednesday’s tie in south Wales.

“There will definitely be a lot of rotation and we will give players a chance who haven’t played. They really need to play.”

Asked what he expected against Newport – who will not have manager Michael Flynn on the touchline after he tested positive for coronavirus – Hasenhuttl replied: “A tough game.

“When you go there you need to be really lively and be organised. It’s definitely not a Sunday afternoon walk. You have to go for everything if you want to take something there.”

Newport have yet to play at home this season after a new playing surface was installed at Rodney Parade over the summer, winning three of their four games on the road.

The last time the two sides met was in 1968 in an FA Cup third-round replay at Newport’s former Somerton Park home, which Southampton won 3-2.

“They have a new one (pitch), this is what I have heard,” Hasenhuttl said. “You have to play on the same pitch they do and we have to adapt our game to what is needed.”

Southampton signed teenage defender Thierry Small from Everton on Tuesday, the 17-year-old left-back having agreed a three-year contract at St Mary’s.

Hasenhuttl expects to do more business before the transfer window closes next Tuesday, with a new centre-half his priority.

He said: “I think we’ve had a good transfer window so far, bringing in a few very important players for us. We need to strengthen a little bit in the centre-back position.

“We only have three at the moment with Jannik Vestergaard going and maybe we will do something in that position.”

On the addition of Small, Hasenhuttl added: “I think our philosophy of how we develop these young players and give them their opportunities has been an important factor in this, and we are looking forward to working with Thierry and helping him make the most of his potential.

“We have already signed a player this summer with good experience at left-back in Romain Perraud, and Thierry’s arrival now gives us a very good balance and a strong additional option in that position, and this is encouraging that we now have this on both sides of our defence.”