Ralph Hasenhüttl says he is taking the FA Cup seriously this season and intends to field a team capable of beating Huddersfield, but admitted he must make changes to his side after the enormous effort they have put in over the Christmas period.
Saints took a mightily-impressive ten points from a possible 12 over their four festive games, culminating in the New Year's Day triumph at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
It is a run of results that has pushed the club up to 12th in the Premier League table, but it has also involved a huge workload on many of the players, and Hasenhüttl has explained he has to keep that in mind for Saturday's third-round tie, at St Mary's.
ralph hasenhüttlyou see with harry kane that even the fittest players have a danger of getting a hamstring injury in these moments.
"I think the points we took helped us massively," said Hasenhüttl. "The performance of the team was unbelievably good.
"Everybody has the feeling that we have pushed now the right buttons and found a way to play in the way we really want to show the fans. It's an intense way – especially the last game, which from what the stats show was maybe the most intense one in the whole Christmas period.
"It's unbelievable that, after the three games before, we again topped this level and this is fantastic and the team deserve the highest praise.
"We didn't change a lot in those games. We didn't want to lose our automatism, and the players went to the limit I think, and pushed the limits higher. But you see at the weekend as well the best example was Harry Kane, that even the fittest players have a danger of getting a hamstring injury in these moments, so we really have to take care now of what we do.
"The team will look a little bit different at the weekend. How different, we have to look at how they feel. They are tired at the moment, and this is normal.
"We have again only a few days to the next game, but the message is a clear one – we want to get to the next round. The FA Cup is a very important competition for us, like the Carabao Cup. We always played with the best possible team in the Carabao Cup. In some positions I have more alternatives and in some positions I have none, but we will find a team that is able to win against Huddersfield at home."
Hasenhüttl also added that some of the young players who have been working with his group, and who have been in and around his matchday squads, will also be potential considerations.
"Absolutely they are options," he said. "They were working with us for a long time to get the chance to play and it's an option for me to give them a chance, yes."