Following a week of cup action, Southampton’s focus now shifts back to the Premier League – and Shane Long believes the next few days give them a chance to make a significant push in the table.
Saints have a day out at Wembley to look forward to in late February, but before that, they face games against Swansea City, West Ham United and Sunderland, with the first two of those coming this week.
Claude Puel’s side head into the fixtures in 11th position, but could make some good progress with a pair of strong results.
"They're massive,” said Long, of this week’s games. “It's a good opportunity for us to get points on the board, but there's no easy fixtures in this league.
“We have to approach them in the right way, which I know we will, and go to Swansea, who are on a bit of a run of form.
“They seem to have picked up and got a bit of confidence. We know they've got good players, so it's going to be a tough test.
"Hopefully we can build on a few of the results we've had lately – apart from the Arsenal defeat. We feel like we're playing better, we feel like we're causing teams a lot more problems and scoring more goals. The quicker we get back up the league, the better.”
Saints have won each of their last three visits to Swansea 1-0, and Long has fond memories of last season’s trip, as he headed a late winner.
"It's always a tough game, every time we go to Swansea,” said the striker, who has hit a rich vein of form in recent weeks.
“It's always a very close game. It was 1-0 on the day [last season] – Prowsey crossed it in and onto my head, and it managed to squeeze past the keeper, but there's not many times I've gone to Swansea and come away with a win, so I know it's a tough place to go.
“We're right up for this game, we have to approach it in the right way, which I'm sure we will, and we've got the players to win it, so it just depends on how we show up on the day.”