Walker-Peters back in Saints defence alongside Vestergaard

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Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.7m) has returned from a quad injury to start at right-back for Southampton, as the Saints try to halt a run of five successive league defeats.

This dreadful form includes a 9-0 mauling at Manchester United and a remarkable 3-2 defeat to a Newcastle United side who had to play the final 15 minutes with only nine men.

However, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men started their recovery with a midweek FA Cup victory over today’s opponents Wolves.

Both sides have made changes from their meeting 72 hours ago, with Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) back in goal, Jannik Vestergaard (£4.7m) coming into defence and Takumi Minamino (£6.0m) being cup-tied for the 2-0 win.

That means Nathan Redmond (£6.4m) again starts up front alongside Danny Ings (£8.4m), after impressing his manager in this role. “I like him more, to be honest,” said Hasenhuttl on this positional switch. “He gives me more deep runs and his quality on the ball causes problems for the opponent.”

Che Adams (£5.8m) therefore takes a place on the substitutes bench, a previously popular FPL asset but without a goal since 13th December.

Southampton are struggling in defence, having conceded 18 goals in the five matches since their last clean sheet in Gameweek 17. Jan Bednarek (£4.9m) has had a particularly torrid time, scoring -7 at Old Trafford thanks to an own goal, red card and conceding nine times. He followed with an own goal at Newcastle, although this was mercifully credited to Miguel Almiron (£5.6m).

They will be confident of shutting out Wolves, a side struggling for goals after the long-term injury of Raul Jimenez (£8.2m) added to the high-profile summer sales of Matt Doherty (£5.6m) and Diogo Jota (£6.6m).

Head coach Nuno Espirito Santo heavily rotated for Thursday’s cup tie but his line-up here contains only one change from the side which drew 0-0 with Leicester last Sunday. Cheap defender Max Kilman (£4.0m) makes way for Romain Saiss (£4.9m).

Hopes were higher for Adama Traore (£6.0m) this season, after bagging four goals and nine assists in 2019-20. Recent weeks have finally brought consistent minutes to the pacy winger, as he aims to add to the one solitary assist of this campaign.

At left wing-back, Santo continues to manage the minutes of Jonny Otto (£5.4m). The Spaniard is being eased back into action after a long-term anterior cruciate ligament injury, being replaced at half-time against both Southampton and Leicester.

Pedro Neto (£5.7m) starts again, being Wolves’ only consistent goal threat of the season. Almost ever-present, Neto has tallyied up four goals and six assists so far.

SOUTHAMPTON XI (4-4-2): McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Minamino; Ings, Redmond

WOLVES XI (3-4-3): Patricio; Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss; Semedo, Moutinho, Ruben Neves, Jonny; Traore, Willian Jose, Neto

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