U21 PREVIEW: McCarthy relishing Rovers return

By SFC Media time Mon 20 Apr B Team

With the tie finely poised at 0-0 going into Monday’s second leg, Jason McCarthy says it’s all to play for in the second leg of the Under-21 Premier League Cup final on Monday.

The Southampton captain started all of his team’s four games en route to the final against Blackburn Rovers.

And having led Saints out at Ewood Park in the goalless first leg draw last week, McCarthy has urged supporters to get behind Martin Hunter’s youngsters in what is set to be a thrilling evening at St Mary’s.

“Obviously the main thing we spoke about before the (first) game was to get the clean sheet, and we managed to achieve that, but we definitely did have chances to pinch a goal, but it just wasn’t to be,” he told Southampton’s official YouTube channel

“None of them were really clear-cut, we had a few if-buts, but nothing clear-cut and it’s all set up perfectly now for the second leg.

“I think anyone that was thinking about coming or was debating whether to now will get their ticket, because it’s 0-0 and it’s all to play for.

“It’s set up perfectly for people to come and watch now, and its almost like winner takes all, so the first leg being away has given us the advantage, but it’s all to play for.

“We’re all looking forward to that, and the more people we can get down to the stadium the better. I think the times we have played at the stadium this year we have really shown people what we can do and given a good performance which I think helps our aim to get as many people down there as possible and just to get any sort of atmosphere down there.

“2,000 tickets sold already is great and we’re all aware of that, and it’s great that people are already showing their support, and hopefully we can repay them back on the night by winning something.”

Eric Kinder’s Blackburn proved to be resolute opposition up in Lancashire last week, restricting Saints to half-chances for much of the first-leg encounter.

Whilst the two-legged final is a new concept for McCarthy, the centre-half reckons there are a few plus points to deciding the destination of a trophy over 180 minutes of football.

“I think you’ve just got to go with what you’re given really, but I don’t mind the two legs because there’s one at each stadium and you get to find out a little bit about your opponent," he said.

“And at St Mary’s, with the fast pitch, we can zip the ball around, I think it gives us the home advantage.

“But we’re not looking at it that way – we’ve got a gameplan to carry out and we want to go and win something.”

The 19 year-old, from Totton, made his first team debut as a substitute at Crystal Palace on Boxing Day.

But the skipper insists the magnitude of the occasion means Monday night’s game will be among the most important of his fledgling career to date.

“For me, it would be up there with one of the biggest,” he said. “To get the opportunity to win something, and for the club as well it’d be great, but for us as individuals to actually win something – I haven’t won anything before at this club.

“I think the fact that it's on Sky and the fact that there’ll be a lot of people coming is great, and all the build up to the game.

“Come matchday, it’ll be time to put that out of our head because, like I said earlier, we’ve got a job to do, and on the night it’ll be about the performance and winning the game.”

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