Southampton v Crystal Palace: Pardew relishing St Mary's return

Alan Pardew is excited about returning to one of his former clubs as Crystal Palace head to Southampton in the FA Cup.

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew is relishing his return to Southampton for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie.

Pardew, who was sacked as Southampton boss in 2010 after just over a year in charge, left Newcastle United earlier this month to take over at Palace, for whom he was a player for four years from 1987.

He has since overseen three successive victories, including a 4-0 win over non-League Dover in the third round of the Cup, and a 3-2 comeback triumph over Burnley in the Premier League last weekend.

However, Pardew has endured a miserable run of results at St Mary's since his dismissal by Southampton.

In three return trips with Newcastle he has suffered three defeats without his side scoring a goal, two of them by a 4-0 scoreline.

But Pardew said: "I always look forward to going back to an old club, I have fond memories at Southampton and I have a lot of good friends there too.

"It should be a really good game, as we are both sides with momentum, it will be a tough one to call.

"I've prepared as I always do for any game, this game is no exception and I've prepared in a flawless manner, as I try to do with every game.

"The players know what I am asking of them and we're going to go there with a game plan."

Saturday's sell-out fourth-round contest will also see the return to Southampton of winger Jason Puncheon, who played for Pardew at St Mary's and is now excelling under him at Palace.

Puncheon, who played a major role in helping Palace avoid relegation to the Championship last season, has scored in each of his last two games.

However, Southampton have an in-form winger of their own in the shape of the on-loan Eljero Elia, who scored twice in last weekend's 2-1 away win over Newcastle.

Ronald Koeman's side are unbeaten in eight matches, a run that includes a 3-1 Premier League victory at Palace and a 1-0 win over Championship side Ipswich Town to set up Saturday's clash.

Koeman, whose side sit third in the table, will again be without midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin (groin) and Victor Wanyama (hamstring), while defender Toby Alderweireld remains sidelined with his own hamstring injury.

However, striker Sadio Mane may return after missing the last four games with a calf problem.

Palace could welcome back a striker of their own, with Marouane Chamakh nearing a return following a hamstring problem.

The hosts' only other absentees are midfielders Yannick Bolasie and Mile Jedinak, who are away on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations and Asian Cup respectively.