A number of Saints stars have expressed a desire to thank our supporters by completing a lap of appreciate after the final game of the 2012-13 season.
Our players have been prevented from partaking in a lap of honour at the end of the previous two campaigns due to pitch invasions in the aftermath of our promotions from League 1 and the Championship.
Victory over Stoke on Sunday – combined with results elsewhere – could see Saints finish the season as high as tenth, meaning it could be a real party occasion come full time at St Mary’s.
And, ahead of the game, the squad has collectively appealed that it is given the opportunity to show its appreciation to a sold-out home crowd by walking around the pitch with their families after the full-time whistle.
“The last two seasons have ended with promotions, and to keep our Premier League status so we can play here next year is another reason to celebrate,” said Team Captain Adam Lallana.
“The fans have acted like a 12th man at times, so for us to be in the Premier League next year and for them to be able to come back and watch big games is something that we wanted.
“And it would be good if the fans can stay in their seats so we can come back out afterwards and give them a nice lap of honour.
“I've got a seven-month-old boy so I'm really looking forward to taking him out on the pitch so he can sample the atmosphere.
“The players would really appreciate it if the fans can hold back this year and stay in their seats so we can come out and do our lap.
“It will be a really good atmosphere if we can show the fans our appreciation for their support this year.”
Fans’ Player of the Season Morgan Schneiderlin added: “I'm sure the fans will give us good support like they always do, and it will be a party because we want to win this game to finish as high as possible.
“The fans will play their part, and we'd like to be able to thank them at the end of the game. It would be good to be able to go around the pitch and say thanks to them because they deserve it.
“The last two years have been great, but [this year] there is no promotion so we just want a good atmosphere and to be able to clap the fans because they deserve it. I'm sure they will do that.”
Top goalscorer Rickie Lambert and Club Captain Kelvin Davis also backed the appeal for fans to stay in their seats come full time.
“It would definitely be nice if we could walk round with our families and say thank you to the fans,” said Rickie.
“It's been a terrific season and I think the fans and players have enjoyed it, so that would be a good send off to look forward to next season.”
Davis added: “To have the opportunity to take the family on the pitch and walk round giving everyone our congratulations together is something I'm looking forward to.
“The last two seasons have been pretty spontaneous and it's been fantastic when we've had something like that to celebrate, but this season is slightly different.
“Yes, we're happy and content with what we've done this season but it's not a fanfare. We've finished in the league and we want to grow for next season.
“A lap of honour something that I've done for a number of years and the [players’] kids do look forward to it.
“It's one of those special moments that you enjoy, and it's an opportunity to really show your appreciation to the fans because it's something they need to feel as well.”
Young defender Luke Shaw is coming towards the end of an excellent first season as a professional, having made his league debut last November.
And the 17-year-old says he’d love to end the campaign on a positive note, and to show his appreciation to the supporters who have backed him throughout the year.
“We are going into Sunday's game relaxed so we can play our football, and hopefully finish the season on a high,” said Shaw.
“It's great news for us to have another year in the Premier League – that's what wanted, so next year we can push on.
“We want to try and finish in the top half, but just to finish with a win would be great for the supporters.
“They've been amazing for us this season, so it would be nice to send them away with a lap of honour so we can walk around the pitch and thank them all.”