Matt Oakley has signed a two-year extension to his contract to round off what he has described as "a fantastic week".

The 25-year-old is now signed up until June 2006 in the same week that he captained Saints in the FA Cup clash with Millwall.

If Oakley sees out his new contract it will mean he has been at the club for 10 years and will make him eligible for a testimonial.

He said: "It's been a fantastic week for me. Leading the team out on Saturday was unbelievable.

"I am absolutely delighted to have signed because I can see a lot of good things happening at this club and want to be part of them.

"It was all very straightforward. The club said they wanted to offer me a two-year extension and that suited me just fine.

"It was just a question of sorting out figures and it all went very smoothly.

"I would not have signed though if I did not see a promising future for the club. I am ambitious but I believe I can have success here.

"The club is in a very strong position. We have a small squad but a good one and we have been on a good winning streak.

"The new stadium has made a big difference - we are filling it every week - and, unlike some clubs, we are financially stable.

"We have some good players, a good manager and the future is looking good.

"There was never any doubt that I wanted to sign."

Oakley has made well over 200 starts in his time with Saints, having come up through the youth ranks and the reserves into the first team at a young age.

He has also won England under-21 caps and his excellent recent form has led to his name been mentioned as an outside chance of a call-up to the full international squad.

But first Oakley is concentrating on tonight's game against Sunderland at The Stadium of Light which he is fully expecting to be a tough test.

"It is a horrible midweek fixture for the fans and you have to feel sorry for them," he said.

"But we know what to expect. They will probably play the long ball and percentages game and get crosses in to excite their crowd.

"Their fans can be their saviour this year, but they can always be quick to turn and we've got to go and quieten them in the first 25 minutes and try to use it to our advantage.

"It will probably be the same as when they came here.

"They smacked the ball long and it was not pretty, but we know from years when we've been down the bottom you sometimes have to play like that and scrap.

"It's nice to more quality in the team so we can get the ball on the floor and pass it well but we can mix it when we need to."