SAINTS travel to Wolves on Saturday, January 15, but have found the hosts to be tricky customers when meeting in league competition for 15 years now.

The St Mary’s outfit have only registered one win and four draws in the last 11 league meetings with Wolves, dating back to 2007-08 – that win was a 3-1 victory at St Mary’s.

Saints did continue their run to last year’s FA Cup semi-final at the Molineux with a 2-0 defeat of then-Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in February 2021, admittedly, but they are without a win in five league meetings there.

That was a 6-0 hammering that saw a Marek Saganowski hattrick on March 31, 2007.

Remarkably, the emergence of Wolves as a ‘bogey’ team was preceded by a run of 17 matches unbeaten against the Black Country opposition – dating back to 1980-81.

Daily Echo: Claus Lundekvam scores versus Wolves in 2004 (Pic: PA)Claus Lundekvam scores versus Wolves in 2004 (Pic: PA)

A 1-0 loss at the hands of Bruno Lage’s well-drilled outfit back in September put an end to momentum gained with big points scalped from West Ham and Manchester City, and left a sour taste brining the run back to home turf.

In the last five league meetings at any venue, also of which Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have won none and just managed two 1-1 draws, Raul Jimenez x 4, Pedro Neto x 3 and Ruben Neves have all put through Saints net.

Portuguese winger Neto has just made a return to Wolves training after 10 months on the sidelines with injury, but the Saints game will come too soon for him.

Jimenez and Neves both started in their most recent Premier League meeting, though – a 1-0 win over Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United.

Daily Echo: Raul Jimenez scored the winner versus Saints at St Mary's in September (Pic: Stuart Martin)Raul Jimenez scored the winner versus Saints at St Mary's in September (Pic: Stuart Martin)

Rangnick lined his Red Devils side up in the same formation that Hasenhuttl likes to deploy – the 4-2-2-2 – and were completely nullified, which might encourage the Austrian to stick with the five-back from Tuesday.

Although Danny Ings scored the opener in the FA Cup fifth round clash in 2020-21, before Stuart Armstrong added a late one to seal it, Hasenhuttl could line up a remarkably similar team for this one.

Only Ryan Bertrand, Ings and Moussa Djenepo (AFCON) are not available from his starters – Fraser Forster, Kyle Walker-Peters, Jan Bednarek, Mohammed Salisu, Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse are all virtually guaranteed starts.

Daily Echo: Kyle Walker-Peters will hope to make a return from COVID (Pic: Stuart Martin)Kyle Walker-Peters will hope to make a return from COVID (Pic: Stuart Martin)

Nathan Redmond and Armstrong made up the rest of the winning lineup, with Che Adams and Nathan Tella used as late substitutes.

With Saints on a run of four unbeaten in the Premier League against tough opposition, and scoring four goals in a league match for the first time since 2017 in the rout of Brentford, Hasenhuttl & co will hope to deliver a rare disappointment to the Wolves supporters.