Alan Pardew believes the FA Cup third round match between Saints and Crystal Palace will be a great occasion and that the visitors will have to be wary of the St Mary’s crowd.
Pardew returns to his former club tomorrow to pit his wits against current Southampton boss Ronald Koeman and is expecting a fantastic atmosphere.
“They have an outstanding manager and they have great players,” he said. “The team at the moment is up and down a little bit. I think Ronald would certainly look to try and get a more even keel with the team than he has at the moment.
"They have a couple of injuries and a suspension that’s going to impact on his selection, but make no mistake, I’ve managed down there and that crowd makes a difference.
"I’m so pleased we’re taking 5,000 fans. It’s going to make a great atmosphere. The Southampton fans – I love them dearly – make a lot of noise, so it’s going to be a great occasion. It’s probably not high on the agenda for the national media, but for the two clubs I think it’s a very important game.”
Pardew added: “We’re going to try and get a cup run. We’d have liked an easier draw. Southampton away isn’t particularly easy, but we’re looking forward to it.
"We’ve got 5,000 fans going down there and we have a responsibility, and I do to them, to make sure we’re very strong, and I will do."
One of Pardew’s first games in charge of Palace came when the teams met in the fourth round at St Mary’s last season, with the visitors winning a thrilling encounter 3-2 on that occasion.
“It was one of our best performances last year,” said Pardew. “Whether we can replicate that, I don’t know.”