Wigan v Southampton preview: Mark Hughes to take charge of first Saints game
Last Updated: 18/03/18 2:41pm
Mark Hughes will take charge of his first game as Southampton manager on Sunday when the Saints travel to Wigan in the FA Cup quarter-finals (kick-off 1.30pm).
The Welshman was appointed as Mauricio Pellegrino's replacement on Wednesday, and his first task will be to navigate past the Sky Bet League One side - who knocked out Manchester City in the last round.
Hughes says he is only looking at the short-term goals at the club after signing a deal until the end of the season, and hopes that it can keep the team focused.
"I'd like to think that if we do the job here and we fulfil our remit then maybe there would be discussions about that [a longer deal], but that's not any pressure I am trying to put on anyone else," he said.
"I just think that will be a consequence of whether or not we're successful in this short period so I'm not concentrating on that. It's just about the here and now and getting on with the job in hand."
Alongside the scalp of Man City, Wigan have also seen off other Premier League opposition in Bournemouth and West Ham, and manager Paul Cook thinks the Latics are being shown too much respect ahead of their FA Cup quarter-final.
"One of my pals texted me yesterday to say, 'I won't be able to come across for this one but I'll get to the semi-final'. And I just looked at the text as if to say, 'What planet is he on?'," he said.
"When you've knocked teams out like we have, there is a little bit of that. It's like people aren't disrespecting us enough now and respecting Southampton enough.
"In our dressing room we're fully aware what we're about to engage with. We've had a great cup run... and now we go into a game on Sunday where people are actually saying to us it's a 50-50 game. And as a manager, and a football fan for a long time, I don't see it as a 50-50 game. I'd love to tell everyone I do, but I don't see it as that at all."
Hughes will only have two players unavailable for the trip to the DW Stadium, with Steven Davis and Charlie Austin both remaining sidelined.
Davis has not played in five weeks due to injury while striker Austin has been out of action since December with a hamstring strain.
Wigan will be without influential forward Nick Powell, who sustained a hamstring injury in the league victory over Bradford on Wednesday.
But in Will Grigg they have the competition's leading scorer with seven goals already, including the winner against City in the last round.
Southampton are playing in their first FA Cup quarter-final since 2004/05, when they lost to Manchester United. They reached the final the last time they progressed beyond the quarter-final stage, doing so in 2002/03.
The Latics have already eliminated three top-flight teams this season (Bournemouth, West Ham and Man City) - the last team from outside the top-flight to eliminate four in a season were West Ham in 1979/80, with the Hammers winning the FA Cup that year.
Saints have progressed from 18 of their last 19 FA Cup ties against sides from a lower division - their only defeat in that run was against Bristol Rovers in February 2008.
Will Grigg has scored more goals than any other player in the FA Cup this season (7), including four goals against Premier League opposition.
Wigan got a huge result in midweek at Bradford - if they'd have lost that they wouldn't have needed this game. They've got enough games in hand in the league as it is, so to fall another game behind while playing in the cup after not winning would not have been ideal. I can understand Mark Hughes' appointment at Southampton, he played there. He's the kind of manager that can get several wins on the spin and I think the Mark Hughes factor will be telling in his first game in charge.
PAUL PREDICTS: 0-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)