Kieran Trippier is relishing a St Mary’s meeting with old friend Jay Rodriguez when Burnley take on Saints in the FA Cup third round tomorrow.
The high flying Clarets, who sit second in the Championship under the leadership of Sean Dyche following a 3-2 New Year’s Day win over Huddersfield, which included a goal from Trippier, sold Rodriguez to Saints for £7m a year and a half ago.
Since then Rodriguez has gone on to establish himself as a Premier League regular and made his England debut, but Trippier insists his pal hasn’t forgotten his roots.
“I’ve been texting him. We keep in contact and that’s the good thing about Jay – he went to a Prem (Premier League) club but he’ll still rings you and texts you. That’s J-Rod,” said the right back.
“I’m looking forward to playing against him if he plays on the left wing. I’m sure I’ll have a bit of banter with him.
“He’s doing really well and he deserves everything he gets.”
Burnley certainly won’t arrive at St Mary’s with any fear given their form this season.
Dyche will be weighing up whether to field a full strength side or make changes with Saints expected to give their fringe players a game.
“We’re doing really well at the moment, so are Southampton,” said Trippier.“If we match them up then who knows, there’s loads of shocks in the Cup.
“They had Chelsea before and maybe they will rest some but they have got the squad to mix it about and the players too, so we’ll go there and hopefully get the win.”
It may be hard for Burnley to be entirely sure which Saints line-up they will be facing tomorrow afternoon.
Though the FA Cup is a big competition and one in which Saints could do well, they are prioritising the league and as such Mauricio Pochettino is expected to make a raft of changes, as he did for the League Cup.
That could see the likes of Maya Yoshida, Jos Hooiveld and Danny Fox all getting a start while youngsters such as Harrison Reed and Sam Gallagher will also be hoping to get a chance to impress.
Pochettino has used one or two senior players in the League Cup and that could possibly include Nathaniel Clyne as he returns to fitness and potentially even Rickie Lambert after he started the game against Chelsea on the bench.