TWO of Saints' 2003 FA Cup heroes, Chris Baird and Jo Tessem, are hoping to resurrect their St Mary's careers under Harry Redknapp.

The duo were big stars of the memorable Cardiff campaign just 19 months ago, but have since faded from view.

Baird, 22, signed a new two-year contract with Saints during the summer and was desperate for first-team football.

But he was then left out of the squad that travelled to Sweden on the club's pre-season tour.

And this season he has only once made the first-team matchday 16 when he was an unused substitute against Arsenal in the 2-2 Highbury draw.

Baird's agent Gary Williams admitted his player had been frustrated by the lack of opportunities and confirmed he had attracted the interest of several Championship clubs, including Stoke, Ipswich, Watford and Reading.

But he stressed that the right-back, who has been capped 12 times for Northern Ireland, wanted to fight for his Saints place under Redknapp.

Williams said: "Chris's partner is expecting a baby this week and he is quite settled in Southampton. There has been quite a lot of interest in him but this is a good chance for a fresh opportunity under a new manager so he is keen to impress.

"He has been playing well for Northern Ireland and the reserves.

"He kept hearing he would get his chance if the team didn't do well but still did not get into the first-team squad.

"But that has now passed and he just wants to get his head down and prove himself to Harry Redknapp."

Baird got his first chance to impress the new manager when he came on as a sub for the reserves against Fulham at Staplewood on Tuesday.

Before last weekend's fixtures, Saints had used 25 Premiership players this season - the third most in the top flight after Manchester United and Blackburn. In contrast, second-placed Everton had used the least - just 18.

Another well-known name who has yet to feature this season is Norwegian utility man Tessem, who has returned early from a loan spell at Millwall following the easing of the London club's injury crisis and is also keen to show Redknapp what he can do.

The 32-year-old featured regularly during the 2002/3 season but has not played for Saints since a sub appearance in Paul Sturrock's first game in charge against Liverpool in March.

At present, it seems highly unlikely that he will be offered a new contract at the end if the season. Tessem has been with Saints since November 1999 but last completed 90 minutes at Arsenal in May 2003.