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League survival ensures entertaining semi-final

Southampton Rangers coach Keith Jennings believes his side's FA Cup semi-final showdown with St. David's at Bernard Park on Sunday will be a highly entertaining match given the circumstances surrounding both clubs.

Both Rangers and St. David's were fighting for their Premier Division lives last weekend, knowing a win would put them closer to retaining their top-flight status for next season.

With the pair achieving that goal, coupled with Somerset Eagles losing, they confirmed their spot for next term with a game to spare, leaving them nothing to focus on apart from this weekend's clash

Jennings says it will be interesting to see how both sides approach the game as a weight has been lifted from their shoulders.

“They have nothing to lose as do we but we have everything to gain so it should make for an interesting game,” said Jennings. “It was a good win for us (against Dandy Town). It was important to go into this weekend on a high and we managed to keep our winning streak intact over the past few games.”

But he noted the importance of having their survival decided before the last weekend of the league campaign.

Now, with the headache of a relegation battle behind him, the former North Village midfielder is looking to take his side to the FA Cup final in his first full season at the helm.

The sides are even in wins this year, both clubs having won their respective home fixtures so a game on neutral ground could be fascinating, said Jennings.

“We are safe from relegation, which is a good thing because we didn't want to go into a game of this magnitude with this still hovering over our heads. That would have played a bigger part in our mindset for this game than the current situation.

“We have that situation over and done with and even if we would have lost there would have been less pressure on the players as far as playing this match and then following it up with a crucial league match.

“It has all worked out for us so it is beneficial.

“I can't predict anything but we will have to see on the day which team comes and looks to take the upper hand and plays the best.

“Being in my first full season it would be a good thing to make it to an FA Cup final, although the main goal was to stay up and keep our top flight status. To be here (in the semi-finals) is a bonus.

“Both sides are staying up with the results from last week and this relieves a lot of pressure, so the players will come out hungry.

“ . . . it's nothing that anyone would want, winning a big cup and getting relegated.”

The winner of Sunday's game will make the trip to the National Sports Centre to take on defending FA Cup champions Devonshire Cougars. That match will be played on April 10.

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Published March 18, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated March 18, 2011 at 10:17 am)

League survival ensures entertaining semi-final

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