Alan Pardew hopes this year’s FA Cup will be his third time lucky, falling just short of lifting the trophy having been a runner up as a Palace player, and more recently when managing West Ham.
“It’s a massive competition, growing up with the FA Cup it was something very important to me. To be part of that folklore of winning the Cup has just missed me on two occasions and on the third occasion I hope it doesn’t. To win it you need a bit of luck, but I’ve got a responsibility to make sure we’re very strong which I will do, and we’ve got a good side to go to Southampton.”
Not underestimating the challenge his side face tomorrow, Pardew says the travelling fans will play a big part in helping the team get through an important game for the club.
“It’s going to make a great atmosphere because Southampton supporters make a lot of noise and it’s going to be a great occasion. When we played them last year it was one of our best performances, whether we can replicate that I don’t know. We’ve certainly rearmed ourselves after the Chelsea game and we’re really looking to it.”
The Saints’ results have been inconsistent of late, and the Eagles will hope they don’t find their form as they did at home to Arsenal on Boxing Day – an emphatic 4-0 win.
“The team at the moment is up and down a little bit and I think Ronald will certainly look to try and get on a more even keel. He’s an outstanding manager and they have some great players.”
Last year’s 3-2 victory away to Southampton in the fourth round was described as a ‘pulsating game’, and Pardew says the return of Bakary Sako gives the team a threat they’ve been missing of late.
“He’s very important, he can get a goal out of nothing and scoring goals is top of my agenda at the moment. He gives me a weapon that I haven’t had for five or six games - he has a shot in both feet that has a bit more venom than perhaps 95% of the Premier League.”