will endeavour to march to the Coupe de France semi-finals when they welcome second-tier side Bastia to the Stade de la Beaujoire for the quarter-finals on Thursday night.
Les Canaris eased past fellow top-flight outfit Brest in the previous round to make it this far, while their visitors dumped Reims out of the tournament on penalties.
Sitting comfortably in mid-table obscurity in Ligue 1, Nantes are highly unlikely to be dragged into another fight for survival at this stage of the season or challenge for a European berth, so Antoine Kombouare may very well elect to prioritise a piece of silverware here.
Les Canaris are in with a realistic shot of making the semi-finals and were comfortable 2-0 winners over Brest in the last-16, as a brace for Ludovic Blas saw Nantes advance to the quarter-finals for just the second time in six seasons.
However, Kombouare was forced to witness his side go down 1-0 to Champions League-chasing Strasbourg at the weekend in Ligue 1 courtesy of Dimitri Lienard’s thunderous effort, but the hosting manager can look back over the winter period and give himself a pat on the back.
Indeed, Nantes head into the quarter-final having won four and drawn one of their last five in all competitions at the Stade de la Beaujoire – scoring 11 goals and keeping three clean sheets in that hot streak on home soil – but Bastia know what it takes to get the better of Ligue 1 opposition.
The last-16 has proven to be Bastia’s Achilles heel in years gone by, but the Ligue 2 side ensured that the curse would not bedevil them once more as they came up trumps in a nail-biting penalty shootout with Reims to advance to the final eight.
Andreaw Gravillon missed the crucial spot kick for Les Rouges et Blancs after a 1-1 draw in normal time, with Bastia also getting the better of newly-promoted top-flight side Clermont to keep their memorable cup run going.
Regis Brouard’s side are going through a sticky patch in the second tier, though – now winless in three after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Pau at the weekend – but the opportunity to make history will soon present itself to this crop of players.
The 1981 Coupe de France champions have not made an appearance in the semi-finals since falling at the final hurdle in the 2001-02 edition – losing 1-0 to Lorient in the final – and they have failed to score in seven of their last eight encounters with Nantes, with five of them remarkably finishing 0-0.