A good run in the FA Cup could be the perfect catalyst to a top four finish for Ronald Koeman and his Southampton side.
The men from St. Mary's are currently third in the Premier League, having been on a superb run in recent weeks beating Arsenal, Manchester United and drawing with Chelsea. This weekend attention will shift to the FA Cup as they take on Crystal Palace at St. Mary's.
Cup run confidence
The Saints squandered their last chance of cup success when they were knocked out of the Capital Once Cup by Sheffield United in late 2014. However, manager Koeman took that competition seriously and there is no reason to think he will not do the same in the FA Cup.
The Dutchman will know that winning breeds confidence and his side are looking unbeatable at the moment. A good cup run will further install that confidence into his players, as well as endearing them further to the Southampton fans.
Strong lineup guaranteed
Koeman has previously stated that he will take all competitions seriously this season and that could see minimal changes for the game this weekend.
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Matthew Targett is likely to get another chance in defence, and either Jack Cork or Harrison Reed is likely to partner Steven Davis in midfield. Shane Long's heroics in the last round could also see him start in a wide role.
With their next game not until the following Sunday, Koeman will be happy to continue with the majority of the side that has been doing so well this season without the need to rest legs for their Premier League campaign.
Another strong reason for Koeman to send out a strong side is the promise of European football for the winners. Although they are third in the league at the moment, any downturn in form is set to be capitalised on by a number of teams.
That should be reason enough for the Saints to push on in the cup, although if they do progress, the lift it will give the players and the city should also help them in the league as well.
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