Radhi Jaïdi has called on his young Saints to deliver a repeat of the performance that saw them get off the mark in the Checkatrade Trophy against Colchester in September when they face Cambridge United on Tuesday night.
A return to winning ways at home to Leeds in the PL Cup on Friday has ensured that Jaïdi’s charges will head to the Abbey Stadium in high spirits, safe in the knowledge that they have what it takes to go toe to toe with Football League opposition.
It is a challenge that both coach and players are relishing.
“The boys love this competition,” he said. “It gives them an insight into senior football; with the league grounds and the pre-match environment, it is aligned to them.
“We had a good performance against Colchester, we won that game and sent a good message to the other teams in our group. We will see how they line up and we will adjust to it. The boys are ready to go and put a shift in.
“I’m glad for the performance from the boys on Friday, they stepped up the level and got back on track.
“Hopefully we can take that mind-set and confidence to Cambridge which is going to be a slightly different challenge; they will be physical and direct but we will deal with that and try to impose ourselves.”
Hosts Cambridge find themselves second from bottom in League Two after collecting eight points from a possible 36 and Jaïdi expects that the U’s will view Tuesday’s meeting as an opportunity to react and earn some much-needed momentum.
“We are ready for a reaction from them, when someone is under pressure they want to be strong and respond in the right way.
"We’re expecting a full-strength team from them and they will try to intimidate us but we will stand up to the challenge and that’s an area that we’ve improved on this season.”