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EFL Cup - Newcastle v Southampton preview: Magpies to seal place at Wembley

Newcastle and Southampton will meet in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final tie at St James' Park on Tuesday night with a place at Wembley awaiting the winners.

The Magpies will head into the contest holding a 1-0 advantage from last week's first leg at St Mary's with Joelinton scoring the only goal of that game during the second half.

That has increased expectations that Newcastle could be set to reach their first domestic cup final since 1999, but Southampton have caught the eye in cup competitions so far this season and will hope to complete a surprise turnaround.

WhatNewcastle v Southampton – EFL Cup semi-final, second leg
WhereSt James' Park, Newcastle
When20:00, Tuesday 31st January 
How to watchSky Sports Main Event and Football
OddsNewcastle 4/9, Draw 7/2, Southampton 15/2

Newcastle dreaming of silverware

Newcastle's last appearance in a major domestic cup final ended in heartbreak after they were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in the 1999 FA Cup final, while they have not lifted a major piece of silverware since triumphing in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969.

It has been even longer since the Magpies last lifted a major domestic trophy - the 1955 FA Cup - but belief is growing that they can end that near 70-year wait this season, with Eddie Howe's side priced at 6/5 in the To Win Outright market to lift the EFL Cup.

Before Newcastle can start dreaming about Wembley glory, they must first get over the line against Southampton this midweek, with the Magpies priced at 1/25 To Qualify for the final and 4/9 in the Full Time Result market to win the match on the night.

Expectation levels will certainly be high at St James', as Howe's men are yet to taste defeat at home this season, with their last loss on Tyneside coming against Liverpool in April.

Newcastle also have an impressive recent record against Southampton, losing just one of the last 12 meetings between the two sides, while the Saints have not won at St James' since January 2015 when a Eljero Elia brace sealed a 2-1 victory.

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Defence the best form of attack for Newcastle

Much of Newcastle's success so far this season has been built on a strong defence, as the third-place Magpies have conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League to date this term, letting in just 11 from their 20 matches.

Goalkeeper Nick Pope has been integral to that success, keeping 16 clean sheets in his 24 appearances to date across all competitions, while he has not conceded in any of his last 10 matches.

That run includes last week's first-leg win at St Mary's and Newcastle are 11/10 To Win to Nil on Tuesday, while a repeat of the 1-0 victory they gained on the south coast is available at 11/2 in the Correct Score market.

Saints have shown cup pedigree

It has been a difficult season to date for Southampton, as they currently sit bottom of the Premier League standings and are 8/13 To be Relegated come the end of the campaign.

Manager Nathan Jones has only won one league match since taking charge in November, but it has been a different story in the cup competitions, with Southampton still in with a chance of reaching the EFL Cup final, while they booked their place in the FA Cup fifth round with victory over Blackpool at the weekend.

The Saints are 15/2 in the Full Time Result market to beat Newcastle on Tuesday and 12/1 To Qualify for next month's final, a tough ask, but they did book their place in the semi-finals of this competition by seeing off Manchester City.

Southampton may have to match the same levels they produced in that 2-0 victory over the Citizens if they are to progress to what would be their first EFL Cup final since 2017 - the Saints can be backed at 40/1 to lift the trophy in the To Win Outright market.

No Gordon for Newcastle as Saints sweat over Djenepo

Newcastle completed the signing of winger Anthony Gordon from Everton in a reported £45m deal over the weekend, but the England Under-21 international is cup tied and therefore not available to make his debut on Tuesday.

The Magpies are also set to be without Jonjo Shelvey, who is struggling with a calf issue, but regardless is on the verge of leaving the club to join Premier League rivals Nottingham Forest.

Emil Krafth (knee) and Matt Targett (heel) will also miss the contest, as will goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, who featured in the early rounds of the competition during a loan spell with Manchester United.

Southampton's main fitness concern surrounds winger Moussa Djenepo, who scored in the previous round against Man City, but was forced off during last week's first leg with concussion after colliding with opposition goalkeeper Pope.

Djenepo is considered doubtful for the trip to Tyneside as a result, while Juan Larios (groin), Valentino Livramento (muscle) and Alex McCarthy (foot) have all been ruled out.

Jones rotated his starting XI for the FA Cup success over Blackpool, but the likes of Gavin Bazunu, Mohammed Salisu, Carlos Alcaraz and captain James Ward-Prowse are all expected to earn recalls.

The winner of Tuesday's tie will face either Man Utd or Nottingham Forest in this year's EFL Cup final at Wembley on 26th February, with United currently in the box-seat to progress from that contest after claiming a 3-0 victory during last week's first leg at the City Ground.

The second leg of that tie is due to take place at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

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