Whilst it is not a competition that figures as high on the list of priorities as promotion from Npower League One, surely no football manager would ever send a team out not wanting to win the game of football they are about to embark upon.
Whilst there have been comments from supporters that the team need to be knocked out of the FA Cup as soon as possible, there are obvious benefits of continuing in the competition. It may be a cliché but it is true that winning becomes a habit and, in a world where squad rotation is becoming a necessity rather than a luxury, the competition can give so called ‘fringe’ players the opportunity to show their worth.
When you look at the third round fixture itself, it was only 12 months ago that Saints opponents Blackpool were in the position that Southampton are looking to be in the short term. Add to the mix that the strength of the Blackpool squad, on paper at least, is equal to many in the Championship, a good showing by a strong Southampton team can only increase confidence levels further.
The overall strength of the options that Nigel Adkins has available to him has led to less than a handful of players who, at the time, wouldn’t be seen as integral to the first choice squad making appearances.
This would suggest that there can’t be too many complaints about the naming a side that can compete and hope to continue the ‘good time’ feeling that has started to surround the club at last.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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