Koeman to ring changes as Southampton host Aston Villa

Date published: Tuesday 27th October 2015 5:52

Gaston Ramirez: Joins Middlesbrough on loan

Gaston Ramirez: Joins Middlesbrough on loan

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman is set to ring the changes for his side’s Capital One Cup clash with Aston Villa on Wednesday.

Forward duo Shane Long and Jay Rodriquez remain out with injury, while Saido Mane is suspended following his red card in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

This could mean recalls for Steven Caulker, James Ward-Prowse and Gaston Ramirez – who returned from the exile to set up Mane’s equaliser at Anfield.

“It’s all about the squad that you have available,” said Koeman, whose team face Villa under caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald in their first match since Tim Sherwood’s sacking.

“We know the difference between this season and last season is that, in my opinion, we have a stronger squad and we have more competition between the players.

“Some players deserve to play and this is the opportunity for them to show they count in our squad and they give real competition to the rest of the players.

“You have to be 100 per cent to go on in this tournament what we like. We like to win and we like to reach the final.

“You hope always for a good performance from the team and we know we will have great support of our fans again.”

Southampton on Sunday host Bournemouth in the Premier League, and Koeman is concerned that Long will again miss out, owing to the ankle injury he recently picked up on international duty with the Republic of Ireland.

“Shane is still not available and it will be difficult for the weekend,” he said.

“Jay still has some pain with his feet and it makes it very uncomfortable the situation for him. They are not involved tomorrow.

“We have some injuries but we have a lot of fit defenders, who are strong and still without injury and I’m pleased for that.

“But with the forwards we have a little bit more of a problem.

“Players like Juanmi and Ramirez are doing well, they are training hard and they showed already last weekend their qualities.”

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