Under-23s boss Radhi Jaïdi needs a big performance from his young side as they face Man United in a crucial Premier League 2 matchup this evening, aiming to keep pace with the division’s leaders.
Saints are currently level on points with both Wolves and Reading at the top, but Jaïdi knows that any potential slip-ups will be pounced upon by surrounding sides, not least United, who are five points behind and seeking a swift return to Division One football after last year's relegation.
The reverse fixture yielded a 1-1 draw at Staplewood Campus, with Marcus Barnes on target, but maximum points tonight could well prove vital in the race for promotion.
“Every game is important, from here until the end of the season,” the former Southampton defender began.
“I think the fact we're level on points with two other teams at the top is positive, and the teams that drop points at this stage of the season ultimately will be the ones who fall short.
“So, that's why we're focussing on keeping consistency right.
“No one can neglect the work that has gone into the Under-23s this season, and not just the individuals who have made the step up to the first team.
“They are all trying to impress, trying to send the right messages. The boys are aware of the opportunity they have at this club - that drives them to keep working hard and doing the right things.”