Yeovil Town left-back Jamie McAllister spoke to TalkSport Radio as part of the build-up to the FA Cup Fourth Round match against Southampton, in an interview broadcast on Saturday 25th January 2014.
JM: The boys are all looking forward to it. It's a great challenge for us. We'll play a team that are sitting ninth in the Premier League and with a lot of good players. It's a great stadium and a great pitch, so a good opportunity for us to go and enjoy playing against a Premier League team and test ourselves.
Qu: The FA Cup is not your priority this season, but how important is it to you?
JM: Of course it's not the priority, because we want to stay in the Championship. But it's a game that's a nice distraction for us. To go and test ourselves against Premier League opposition is always good. It's nice to play against those types of players who are on top of their game.
Qu: And Southampton have been doing well this season, haven't they?
JM: They started off on fire - they've been brilliant. They're a bit hot and cold at the minute, but it's another great game for us.
Qu: How do you beat them?
JM: We go and play well and hope that they have an off-day, make sure our tactics are better than theirs, make sure that we implement everything that the gaffer asks us to, and hopefully that's enough to beat them on the day, along with a bit of luck.
Qu: What sort of a record have you had in the FA Cup before? Any particular high moments?
JM: Yes, I've managed to play against a few Premier League teams in the past against Manchester City and Middlesbrough. We drew against Middlesbrough at home, then took them to a replay, then drew up there and lost on penalties. We played Portsmouth when they were in the Premier League. I've not got a great record in the FA Cup though, as I don't think I've managed to get further than the Fifth Round.
Qu: Financially it's good for the club to progress past the Third Round and into the Fourth, and hopefully further.
JM: Yes, it's all good revenue for the club, and it's much needed at ours. Our crowds are not massive, and the income is not great either, so it's a big achievement for us to be in the Championship. But if we can stay in it this year, and get more revenue for the club, then it's going to push the club forward.
Qu: You go into the match on the back of a win against Birmingham, at St Andrews last weekend. How is current form? How do you feel the team are playing right now?
JM: We feel like we're on a good run at the moment. In the last few games we've beaten Leyton Orient in the cup 4-0, then as you say away last week we beat Birmingham City 2-0. They're a good side and it's always a difficult place to go, so it was a big three points for us. So on the back of two wins, we want to go and make it three.
Qu: We spoke to Gary Johnson, the Yeovil manager, earlier on in the season, about the hopes, the ambitions, the dreams - and he said that the Championship was Yeovil's Premier League. How do you feel the season has gone so far for you?
JM: It's been testing for us because not all of the boys in the squad have played at this level. But we're quickly finding our feet in the last few results, and we've shown that we're more than capable of competing. We know that ourselves, as we've had some good performances and good wins against some top clubs, and we've gone close on a number of occasions, like Wigan and QPR. With the teams that are there or thereabouts, we've lost by the odd goal with a 1-0. We've beaten Forest, who are a quality side, and we went to Millwall and beat them. So we've had good results and I think we've found our feet now, with a lot of the boys who haven't played at this level. We want to push on and have a better second half of the season and gets some wins on board to stay in the Championship.
Qu: Twenty-five league games gone and you're four points from safety. Is that possibly where you expected to be. Or is it better or worse?
JM: To be honest, we set our standards high at the start of the season, and we expected to be better - and it's not gone that way. So we've got the second half of the season to turn it around, and try to achieve some of our ambitions. Obviously the first one is to stay in this division. We just need to be better than three other teams in the Championship. So that's our main aim at the moment.
Qu: Looking at the forthcoming fixtures, you've got Southampton away in the FA Cup, then Derby and Forest away in the Championship, and then you play against Leeds. There's no let-up for you, is there?
JM: (laughs) It gets easier doesn't it? That's the quality that we're playing against. That's what you want to do as a footballer - you always want to test yourself against the best. Going away to these teams, and challenging yourselves is a great experience for us. But we don't want it to just be an experience - we want to go and win these games. There are probably ten or twelve teams that think that they can get promoted, and it's a tough division. But it's a great challenge for the club and for the players for such a small club as Yeovil.
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