TV PUNDIT Chris Kamara has warned Sheffield Wednesday to expect a Southampton backlash when the Owls travel to the south coast for their Capital One Cup third-round clash tonight.
In the past Premier League sides have derided the League Cup – making it nothing more than an afterthought in their season as they concentrate on league duties.
Second-string squads and lowly crowds have been prevalent in previous years but Kamara believes there has been a sea change in recent seasons as clubs have woken up to the possibilities of the competition.
For Southampton the Capital One Cup provides a welcome respite from a painful start to the Premier League.
And in addition the competition and the visit of Championship opposition in the shape of the Owls, on paper offers a perfect chance for Saints to discover their winning touch.
As a result former Sheffield United player Kamara admits the trip to St Mary’s will be a tough assignment for the Owls.
“Southampton are going to be looking at the Capital One Cup as an opportunity to get some form under their belts,” he said. “I worry for Sheffield Wednesday because there aren’t going to wholesale changes.
“Both are big clubs but if you look at the performance of Southampton at the weekend – they looked good – it’s going to be very difficult indeed to come away with anything at all.
“Southampton have had a tough start to the Premier League season, playing the big teams like Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal – the supporters will be relishing a League Cup tie against lowly opposition.
“If you are going to stay in the Premier League home form is really important and so having not won a game in the league until the weekend, Southampton are going to want to get a win against Sheffield Wednesday and really build some momentum.
“Every year we see that home form is important to teams if they want to stay in the league and if you can get that bit of momentum then that can help you stay up.
“There is only really the top four teams in the Premier League that can afford to rotate their squad too much in the Capital One Cup so I think you will see most of the Premier League putting out most of their first team in the third round.”
Like the majority of teams in the Football League for Wednesday a significant cup run could reap huge dividends both this season and beyond.
The Owls have done some of the hard work by securing themselves a third-round tie against Southampton by seeing off Premier League Fulham 1-0 last time out – Gary Madine bagging the only goal.
And Kamara believes if Wednesday can claim the Southampton scalp tonight it could help Jones’ side kick-start their 2012-13 season as well as provide more opportunities to boost the coffers.
“For all the clubs like Sheffield Wednesday in the third round they’ll be thinking about the economic situation and what a tie in the next round against Arsenal or Manchester United could bring,” he added.
“There are so many clubs that are on their backsides at the minute who will be desperate for a big tie whether it be at home or away as a big home game could attract the TV cameras and bring a lot of money.”