It’s more than seven years since St Mary’s last hosted top-flight football, but it will do so on Saturday as we welcome Wigan Athletic for a 3pm kick-off.
Saints are still without injured midfielder Jack Cork, though he did resume light training this week and is now closing on a return.
Nigel Adkins’ squad is otherwise fully-fit, with Tadanari Lee stepping up his recovery from a five-month injury layoff with an hour-long involvement in the U21s’ win over Sunderland on Monday.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has concerns over three players following their opening-day defeat to Chelsea at the DW Stadium.
Wide man Jean Beausejour missed that game with a soft tissue injury and remains a doubt, while James McArthur and Shaun Maloney came off during the game with respective back and leg complaints.
Of the 19 sides Saints will face this season, it is Wigan who we have been waiting the longest to take on.
The last meeting between the two sides came on Saturday 25th January 1986, with the Division Three Latics having reached the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history.
Top-flight Saints struggled to find a way past their lower-league opponents in a lively first half at the Dell, with the scores goalless at the interval.
But Chris Nicholl’s men finally broke the deadlock through Glenn Cockerill after 68 minutes, before captain David Armstrong doubled the lead as he knocked in the rebound from his own missed penalty four minutes from time.
Armstrong popped up again in the final minute as he nodded in Mark Dennis’s corner to make it 3-0 and secure Saints’ passage to round five.
Having gone on to knock out Millwall and Brighton, Southampton’s cup run would eventually come to an end at the semi-final stage as they lost in extra time to Liverpool.
Saturday’s match will be refereed by Anthony Taylor, who will be assisted by Andy Garratt and Mick McDonough. Dean Mohareb is the fourth official.
Saints will line up in their red-and-white home strip on Saturday, while the visitors will likely wear their striped blue-and-white home kit.
There is still limited availability for this match, particularly in Block 44 following the return of tickets unsold by the Latics – you can buy online
, over the telephone booking line 02381 780780 or at the box office.
Photos taken by fans during our first home game since 2005 will be featured in our Official Matchday Programme for the visit of Manchester United on Sunday 2nd September.
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will have plenty of pre-match coverage over the next 48 hours, plus lots more after the game on Saturday and Sunday.