Two in-form sides meet on the South coast as Southampton take on an Ipswich Town side that has only lost once since August.
The key for the Saints here will be whether manager Ronald Koeman decides to fully commit to the FA Cup and field a full-strength team, or opt to focus his efforts on a bid to finish in the Premier League’s top four. Nevertheless, predecessor Mauricio Pochettino was criticised for a supposedly lax approach last time around.
However, they will be buoyed by their efforts over the festive period, taking 10 points from a possible 12 and rediscovering the fine football that was behind their excellent first three months of the season. Winger Sadio Mane is very much the man in form, scoring in each of the last three games.
Ipswich were not among the favourites to achieve promotion from the Championship before the campaign started, but since September they have been almost unstoppable thanks to the goals of prolific duo Daryl Murphy and former Saint David McGoldrick.
Central defender Christophe Berra and youngsters Tyrone Mings and Teddy Bishop have also caught the eye in lifting the Suffolk club to second place, and boss Mick McCarthy will feel his side have a wonderful chance to end their 13-year stay in the second tier.
Southampton are without Nathaniel Clyne, Jay Rodriguez, Maya Yoshida, Jack Cork and Emmanuel Mayuka, but Morgan Schneiderlin is back from suspension.
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