Technical Director Martin Hunter has urged his players to make the most of their Checkatrade Trophy match against Reading.
Saints host the Royals in the knockout stages of the competition on Wednesday, and Hunter believes it could be a big platform for some of his young players.
“We’ll be very young tomorrow night,” he started.
“We’re not sure what sort of team Reading will put out, but it’s very important that our players grasp the nettle and take their chance.
“Some of them are going to get an opportunity that they probably wouldn’t have previously got, so we will see how they get on at St Mary’s.
“We are under not illusions, though - it will be a tough game. Reading may well put some senior players in as well, so we will have to deal with that.”
A victory would tee up a trip to League Two side Yeovil Town in round three.
And Hunter believes it would be a huge coup for the club to be the final under-23s side left in the competition.
“It’s a massive incentive,” he continued.
“But like any football club we’ve got to perform and beat Reading on Wednesday – then we will start looking to the last 16 of the competition
“They are playing in a new way and under a new manager in Jaap Stam. They are playing a lot more football now.
“That’s not being disrespectful, but they really look to get it and play out from the back. It will be difficult game to combat, so we are looking forward to it.”