SAINTS manager Russell Martin has called on his side to channel their bounce-back experience against Leeds earlier this season to beat Ipswich.

Southampton visit Portman Road in the first meeting with a direct promotion rival since September - a 3-1 win over Leeds.

Martin knows his charges must record maximum points to stand a strong chance of finishing in the Championship's top two. 

Friday's 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough leaves them nine points off the automatic promotion spots with two games in hand. 

Saints were beaten by both Leicester and Ipswich in the reverse fixtures before ending the four-match losing streak with victory against Leeds. 

Speaking ahead of facing Ipswich, Martin said: "I think the pressure can work one of two ways.

"You either go into the game and you have that feeling of heavy legs and butterflies in your stomach and it completely takes over and you can’t quite get to that level you need.

"Or you feel it all and you’re able to get there and play the game in a special and brilliant way. I always loved the games way more when they had something on it.

"It was just my personality as a player. I loved the big occasions. I’m pretty sure we have a lot of players who will feel the same.

"I look back at the Leeds game at home which we came through brilliantly. We have to do the same again on Monday." 

Ipswich were the only team in the promotion race to record a win on Good Friday, with a 1-0 victory at Blackburn Rovers. 

It lifted Kieren McKenna's side, who were in League One last season, to the top of the table with eight wins in their last nine outings. 

Former Norwich City captain Martin insists he needs no extra motivation to face his old rivals but knows their strengths. 

"They have a lot of options and a lot of intensity. They are really good on transition," Martin insisted.  

"They can do both sides of the game very well. They can really mix their game up with the options they have.

The biggest thing they have is real spirit, real togetherness, real cohesion, real understanding, and clarity with what the manager wants.

"Their group has been together for quite some time. They also have a fanbase that is completely behind their team and loves every minute of it.

"It is going to be a brilliant atmosphere to play in. We must go there and be the team we want to be. That’s always the challenge and it’s an exciting one.

"I’ve got no doubt the players will respond to the disappointment we are all feeling right now in a brilliant way because that’s what this group of people does."