Dean Hammond

'A 50-50 Game Which Represents A Major Opportunity'

Former midfielder Dean Hammond adorned the colours of both Leicester City and Southampton – who meet in the semi-finals of the Emirates FA Cup at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
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- Leicester City meet Southampton in the semi-finals of the Emirates FA Cup at Wembley Stadium on Sunday (6:30pm kick-off)
- Dean Hammond, who played for both sides, has previewed the clash for LCFC TV this week
- The former Fox says both sides will view Sunday's tie as a 'major' opportunity
- Live coverage begins at 5pm on LCFC TV and LCFC Radio on Sunday

Like millions of others, the ex-midfielder will be tuned in on Sunday to see which of his former sides will reach the showpiece and tackle either Chelsea or Manchester City for a chance to lift the most prestigious domestic cup in England. 

Ahead of the tie in the capital, Hammond caught up with LCFC TV to preview the clash and to explain how Saints manager Ralph Hasenhüttl may approach the fixture. The interview will be featured in full during Sunday's Matchday Live broadcast, which begins at 5pm.

"Obviously, it’s a big game for both teams," the 38-year-old explained this week. "I’ve been waiting for this for a few weeks now since the draw was made and it’s an exciting game.

"Both teams have got an opportunity to win. Any game at Wembley is a 50-50 game on a neutral ground and in a special occasion. Both teams have put priority on the competition this season, especially Southampton, who have always played a strong team in each round.

First Team

Goals: Leicester City 2 Southampton 0

James Maddison and Harvey Barnes fired the Foxes to victory over Southampton.

"They want to do well in the competition, so it should be interesting. They’ve played each other once this season and it was a pretty tight game, which Leicester won. It should be a good game and both teams, I think, will have confidence they can win it."

The Saints are currently 14th in the Premier League and unlikely to either secure European football or suffer relegation. That provides a sense of focus for Hasenhüttl's side, Hammond believes, although the Hastings-born ex-midfielder says silverware is always a target for the South Coast club.

"It’s been a really sensible approach from Southampton to try and have some success," he continued. "They’re not likely to challenge for the Champions League or Europe this year.

"A top-10 finish would have been a great achievement for the club. I know they were top at the beginning of the season and have been around the top half of the table this season.

"It’s a really sensible approach and it motivates the players to try and create some history for the club. They’re trying to win some silverware because you want that as players.

We all know Leicester have never won the FA Cup, so it would be fantastic for them to win and brilliant for Brendan Rodgers to get his first silverware at the Club. I really think whoever wins, whether they play Chelsea or Manchester City in the final, they will really believe they can win the competition.

Dean Hammond LCFC TV

"You want that as a manager too. They’re too good to go down, even though they’ve had some disappointing results, so to win some silverware and stay in the Premier League would be a really, really successful season.

"It’s all a gamble in the cup competition because one defeat means you’re out, but the manager’s gone strong in every round. They’ve performed well in every game. They have performed very, very well in the cup competitions."

While Leicester have lost their last two games, Southampton are also on a frustrating run of form, but whoever is triumphant on Sunday will be confident of going one further and lifting the trophy, Hammond believes.

"Obviously, Leicester are in a fantastic position in the league," he added. "They’re in the top four and have had a really consistent season. With Southampton, since the turn of the year, results have been disappointing, but the performances have been pretty good.

"In 15 games this year, I think they’ve lost 12 out of those and only won two in the league. It’s been frustrating and disappointing for them. There’s factors behind that, like injuries, not being able to get a consistent team out, and refereeing decisions. But it’s a big game for both.

"Southampton have put a real importance on this competition. The manager identified it this season and actually said he wants to do well in the cup and try and win some silverware.

"We all know Leicester have never won the FA Cup, so it would be fantastic for them to win and brilliant for Brendan Rodgers to get his first silverware at the Club. I really think whoever wins, whether they play Chelsea or Manchester City in the final, they will really believe they can win the competition.

"On final day, it is a 50-50 game, like any semi-final, so this is a major game for both teams."

All times BST.

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