The onerous task of a midweek FA Cup replay visit to a Championship form side has been made that much more palatable for Southampton thanks to an intervention from a Suffolk virus.
Ipswich will be without no less than three of their first-choice midfielders thanks to the malady, with Jay Tabb, Cole Skuse and Teddy Bishop all set to miss out.
Ronald Koeman’s side are a 17/20 bet to down their hosts at Portman Road, with the depleted Tractor Boys 31/10 for victory within the 90 minutes and a draw priced up at 12/5.
The missing trio are all key contributors in Mick McCarthy’s midfield.
Skuse in particular has averaged more passes and interceptions per league outing than any other player on the East Anglians’ roster in 2014/15, playing more minutes than any other midfielder.
Bishop, a subject of Arsenal-related transfer intrigue, is their second-highest assister, while the absence of Tabb’s bustling presence in the middle of the park will afford the Saints a greater degree of time on the ball.
It seems Southampton may have walked into the tail end of an imperious run of Ipswich form in their original third-round tie at Saint Mary’s, with the Tractor Boys unbeaten in 12 outings at the final whistle.
However, since then McCarthy’s men have sustained only their second home defeat of the campaign against Derby County.
Now, shorn of a trio of important practitioners, they should be overrun by the formidable visiting midfield duo of Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama, who reaffirmed their excellence in denying Manchester United so much as a shot on target during their recent Old Trafford victory.
Sign up for a new account at bwin.com today and claim a handy £30 free bet that turns a £25.50 profit if the Saints can take advantage of Ipswich’s virus-vandalised engine room.