EVERY word Southampton manager Russell Martin said during his press conference ahead of facing Bristol City on Tuesday evening.

How is Flynn Downes?

He will miss tomorrow’s game, but he won’t be out for very long. That is as positive as it could be really, especially with what he felt on the pitch. Tomorrow will be a big stretch, but he isn’t going to be out for very long at all.

It is good news for us, the same with Che as well. We will assess Che ahead of tomorrow. If he isn’t available then he should be by Friday. It is fairly positive news for us really.

When Does Joe Aribo fly back - do you need to put an arm around him after their defeat?

Hopefully he will fly back tomorrow. It was a disappointment for him. Hopefully he feels that he had a brilliant experience. I know that the will be disappointed to lose the final.

We watched it last night together. We are looking forward to speaking to him and catching up about it. I hope he uses whatever he feels when he comes back. We are looking forward to getting him back.

He will be in the squad on Friday, all being well. He will help us a lot because he was one of our top performers before he went away.

Depth of the squad - how do you keep everyone happy?

It depends on how you define ego. They all want to play and they all want to win. Every player has a winner inside of them to survive this far in football.

They all have something. They all have certain qualities, but they also understand that it is not easy to pick a team. It is not easy to be the manager and leave people out, especially when you care about them.

You always need to be honest with them. If they come out of the team there is always a reason why. If someone else plays there is a reason why. I have found that being honest and having difficult conversations with players is the best way in the long term.

A bit of short-term pain for me and for them, but there is also an appreciation that if we are going to do anything - we are going to do it together. You have a chance to impact, even if you come on for the last 30 minutes of the season and score the winner at Elland Road.

I hope it doesn't go that far. If you end up doing that you have a chance to be a part of something bigger than just one person. They have a lot of love for each other. You saw that on Saturday. If we continue feeling that and showing each other off the pitch, then it will take us a long way.

Toughest Championship season ever?

I think the fact that we would be someway clear in the top two positions usually in the Championship with this number of points tells you how strong it has been. The league is so strong, and that is down to the huge amount of quality coaches in the division.

There are really clear ideas of how to play. The athleticism and the power - it is as good of a Championship season that I have ever known, and I have been involved in many as a player and a manager. 

It is not comfortable and it's not going to be comfortable right up until the end of the season I don't think. We have to keep heading into it in the way we want to do things. Keep growing and keep learning.

Hopefully, at some point, we continue this run and the gap will get bigger. We are still trying to chase the team above us, as everyone else is doing. It is not a case of trying to stay where we are, we want to keep building.

We are still frustrated about the amount of points we have had in this run. We have had a few draws which should have been wins. I love watching the team. It was a brilliant reminder on Saturday that, despite how strong the team is, everyone is so tough to play against.

Huddersfield were brilliant. From watching the game back their approach was fantastic. The first half was not right which is my fault because we didn't prepare the players well enough for what was coming.

I always say that you are making an educated guess on how the opponent will play and set up. I got that completely wrong on Saturday - that was my fault. Thankfully the players were good enough to overcome that in the second half.

Would you want to sign David Brooks permanently?

If I had the opportunity, I would sign Brooksy to a contract that he has to stay with me until he retires. But it’s not an option. There is no option at all at the moment, so we are really enjoying working with him.

As a player and as a person, he is fantastic. He’s even better than I thought he was, and I had a really high opinion of him in the first place. He ended up playing two positions for us on Saturday, he did both with real quality and class.

I can’t speak highly enough of him and Joe Rothwell for their professionalism, their mentality, and their quality. Once Joe Allen tells you someone’s a top person and a top player, then you know what you’re getting.

Matt Gill spoke to him. Joe’s opinion for us means if he says it then it’s sold to us. You look at Brooksy and what he’s come through and you think you would love to work with him.

We phoned Joe and he said, ‘if you have the chance, do it’. That was it, job done. Thankfully, Jason worked with him as a kid as well, so he knows him as a person and a player.

It’s worked out really well so far but I’m sure there’s much more to come from him. He’s still learning what we are doing and the way we do things. Hopefully, he’s enjoying it as much as we are.

Is this the toughest week of the season?

I don’t know, I’ll let you know at the end of the season. We’ve had Wednesday and Saturday (before) as well, so I don’t think anything changes really.

The fact that it’s two tough away games but it is all tough. We take each game as it comes. We have Bristol City away tomorrow.

We’ve tried to prepare the lads and recover them as well as we possibly can. It will then be a big challenge to do that again on Friday. Honestly, we’ve had that approach the whole way through.

We take each game as it comes, and we have a tough one, but they are all tough. Saturday’s game was tough. I know the expectation with Huddersfield is you look at their league position, and the run we are on, everyone expects that to be simple but it’s not.

It’s a brilliant reminder to everyone, players, staff, and supporters that it’s never easy. On Saturday, it wasn’t easy, but we came through it together. There are going to be more difficult moments throughout the season.

I’d rather have not had moments like that on Saturday, but I think it will be huge for us moving forward.

What challenges do Bristol City pose?

They are very good on transitions as they were at our place. Liam had just taken over at that point. They are very athletic, hungry, and enthusiastic, they run for each other, and they work hard for each other.

They can mix the game up. That was a huge result for them after the Leeds result and they played 120 minutes in the cup as well. Middlesbrough away is a difficult game and they came through it with three points.

I’m sure they’ll take energy from that but the challenge for us is always to try and play the game on our terms and be the team we want to be. It is not to try, it is to be that. There’s a big difference.

I think the lads are beyond trying, they need to go and do it which they do so often. We’ll have thousands of supporters there, it’s a good place to play and I’m looking forward to it.

It’s a brilliant chance for the players to show how much we’ve learned and how much we can improve on from Saturday.