Graham Potter jokes he was not on long enough to damage one of Southampton’s most famous wins.

The Albion head coach got on as sub back in 1996 when Saints beat Manchester United 6-3 at The Dell.

It was one of his eight Premier League appearances for the club.

Albion were in the depths of the fourth tier about the time Matt Le Tissier and company were causing such problems for Alex Ferguson, Eric Cantona and the rest.

A little more than two decades later, Albion are four points better off in the Premier League than a club with whom they have locked horns and enjoyed rivalry in League One and the Championship in the past decade.

Potter, though, does not see that as a good reason why his new-look side should be favourites tomorrow.

In fact, he views this as their toughest test of the season so far.

Which means trickier than the opening day trip to Watford and the home draw against West Ham.

Potter said: “On paper is different to the reality of the Premier League. That’s why we love this game so much.

“I think it will be our toughest game so far at the weekend because of how Southampton are and how they play.

“I am really impressed with what they have done, what they bring and how they try and play football.

“For us we are still at the stage where every single game is a big fight for us to take the points.

“We don’t think too much about what is predicted to happen or on paper should happen.

“It’s another Premier League game we have to focus on, an opportunity to win.

“But we also know that any team we are playing against can beat us.

“We have to go with that humility and try our best.”

Southampton opened the season with a dismal 3-0 defeat at Burnley.

They then went down 2-1 at home to Liverpool in week two.

Sadio Mane scored against his former club in first-half added time to put Liverpool ahead.

Roberto Firmino’s 71st-minute strike proved to be the winner as Danny Ings replied late on for the hosts.

That left Southampton as one of four sides yet to get a point.

(Albion fans will probably say West Ham should be another).

But it is very early days and points tallies mean little to Potter.

He said: “Points at this stage can be misleading.

“If you look at their performance against Liverpool especially, they were unlucky not to take anything.

“The first-half performance was really good especially and then a goal goes in at the other end in the last minute of the half.

“That’s again the reality of the Premier League, a top player can hurt you.

“But overall they do a lot well and, on another day, they would have got some points.

“They are really well organised and really clear in what they are doing so I’m really impressed with them.”

Potter was just starting to think about life after playing when he appeared for the Saints.

It was about that time he looked to off-field studies.

But that Saints stint also allowed him to play in the big league.

For the record, Saints scored three and conceded one when he was on the field in that nine-goal epic after replacing Simon Charlton. Albion drew 0-0 at home to Fulham in the fourth tier on the same afternoon.

He said: “I was there quite briefly and played in the memorable game as a sub.

“I got on the pitch and didn’t harm the game too much when I got on!

“We still went on to win 6-3.

“It was The Dell, Matt Le Tiss was a talisman for the team at the time and a good group of lads.

“It was the start of the Premier League really, that era, and it was a great experience for me.”

Beating them as head coach at the Amex would be even better.