Saints travel to Old Trafford tonight hoping that new boss Mauricio Pochettino can upset the odds and mastermind the club’s first league win there in more than a quarter-of-a-century.

Not since January 16, 1988, when a Colin Clarke brace gave them a 2-0 victory in an old division one contest, have Saints won at Manchester United.

Since then, they have played 17 league matches at Old Trafford, losing 15 and drawing just two. The last five trips have all ended in defeat.

So convinced are the bookmakers of yet another United success tonight that Saints are listed as longer odds to win than non-league Luton Town were to win at Premier League Norwich in the FA Cup last weekend.

Given the club’s dismal record at Old Trafford, it is easy to see why a victory for Pochettino’s side would be rated as such a shock.

But the Argentine has been in bullish mood ahead of his first away match as Saints manager, promising that he will send his team charging into Old Trafford with the intention of emerging with a victory.

The last Saints boss to oversee a win there was Chris Nicholl.

His 1988 success remains the only league match United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has ever lost to Saints at Old Trafford in his 26-year tenure at the club.

Including Nicholl, Saints have employed 19 permanent managers since they last walked out of United’s home ground with three points.

A win, therefore, is certainly long overdue, but it is hard to imagine anyone at St Mary’s would grumble at a point.

Saints’ last draw away to United came in 1999, when a combination of Marian Pahars magic, Matt Le Tissier majesty and a Massimo Taibi fumble helped them to a 3-3 tie.

Something as memorable as that tonight would do nicely for Pochettino.