Nathan Jones Hopes His Early Work Pays Off . . . And Southampton Have Their Eyes Fixed On The Last Eight Of The Carabao Cup

Nathan Jones hopes his teams hard work will start to show. Pic: Getty Images.

Nathan Jones Hopes His Early Work Pays Off . . . And Southampton Have Their Eyes Fixed On The Last Eight Of The Carabao Cup

By David Williams

Southampton manager Nathan Jones hopes to see his early work rewarded in the Carabao Cup as he makes a belated bow at St Mary’s.

Welshman Jones, was unveiled as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s successor just before the World Cup break, with the Rhondda native’s only game in charge to date being a 3-1 Premier League defeat at Liverpool on November 12.

The 49-year-old former Luton boss finally gets the chance to meet home supporters on Tuesday with Southampton taking on Lincoln, of Sky Bet League One, for a place in the last eight of the Carabao Cup.

“It’s a group that wants to get better and that’s the best thing a manager can have,” Jones said of a squad that he has got to know in unusual mid-season circumstances.

“There are certain things we need to improve on from the first half of the season, and in the time we’ve worked with them.

“I wanted to take little steps quickly, and hopefully we’ve done that over the four weeks we’ve had to work with them. Hopefully we’ll see some sort of seeds of that (against Lincoln). “We’ve just finished the week of a World Cup and you would normally be thinking ‘it’s July and where are you going for your holidays?’

“But it’s a cup game, a really exciting week with my first two home games, and it won’t be long before Santa’s here.”

Jones gave his squad some downtime after the Liverpool game before returning to training, which included a week in Spain.

Southampton warmed up for their return to competitive action by playing behind-closed-doors friendlies and beat Bournemouth 2-0 in one such game last weekend.

The Welsh manager said: “I’m a winner, I want to win games and for us to have that mentality.

“By hook or by crook we want to win this cup game and I’d love it to be an entertaining performance.

“It might not be that, but the important thing is we take a positive step.”

Jones has promised to treat the Carabao Cup with the “greatest respect” ahead of Southampton’s return to Premier League action against Brighton on Boxing Day.

Lincoln shocked Bristol City at Ashton Gate in the last round and have played five times since Southampton lost at Anfield.

Jones said: “I’ve brought Championship teams to Premier League teams, had a right go and tried to cause an upset.

“I’ve done it a number of times, even when I was in League One and League Two. I went to Newcastle, Leeds and Aston Villa and really wanted to cause an upset.

“Lincoln will be exactly the same. It will be a tough game and if we take it lightly we’ll get beat.”

Defenders Juan Larios and Tino Livramento remain out, but full-back Kyle Walker-Peters could return after suffering hamstring damage two months ago.

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