SAINTS Women’s boss Marieanne Spacey-Cale hailed the depth of the club’s setup after giving two academy stars the chance to play in the Women’s FA Cup.

Youngsters Sky Bedwell and Megan Collett, products of the club’s Regional Talent Centre, both came off the bench in Saints’ 7-0 second-round cup win at Illminster on Sunday.

Bedwell, who replaced Sophia Pharoah at the interval, also registered a goal and an assist for Spacey-Cale’s side.

And the Saints boss hopes the youngsters’ impact inspires the rest of the academy.

Former England star Spacey-Cale told the club website: “This is about trusting the development we have got.

“Southampton Football Club is synonymous with developing talent and turning that potential into excellence.

“You look at Sky and Megan coming on on Sunday. They trained all week with us and they really brightened the place up with their energy and enthusiasm.

“The minute we thought we needed to make a change at half-time there was never any doubt Sky was the player to put on because of what she brings.

“She was quite fearless I thought. She got a goal and an assist.

“Megan coming on was just to give her the opportunity to get a taste of what first-team football is. They will go back to the RTC academy and talk about the experience they have had.

“That’s just that aspiration for players. There is a pathway – good players will come in and play in the first team.”

Victory over Illminster set up Saints with a south coast derby battle against arch rivals Portsmouth in round three.

Speaking before the draw was made, Spacey-Cale added: “We had a few people out and it just shows we have got good depth in the squad.

“The girls were really hungry in training all week to put a performance on and get ourselves into the hat – and look forward to moving forward in the next few weeks as well.”