SAM McQueen has hailed goalkeeper Alex McCarthy after he replaced Fraser Forster in the 0-0 draw at Manchester United on Saturday.

Ahead of tonight's huge match against Crystal Palace at St Mary's, McQueen says "you can feel comfortable" when he's between the sticks and that he's "someone you can rely on".

The 28-year-old stopper performed well at Old Trafford and recorded a clean sheet on his first appearance in the Premier League for Saints.

Forster was dropped after the 5-2 drubbing at Tottenham and following 11 successive games without a clean sheet.

“He was bang on, he’s been working hard in training and he’s played some of the under-23s games with me and he’s been class in those,” said McQueen, who made his first start of the league campaign at United, about McCarthy.

“He makes some great saves and he’s solid; he never makes mistakes and he's someone you can rely on.

“When he’s in the goal you can feel comfortable and the players know that because they’ve seen him in training and he’s a good guy and everyone’s happy he’s done so well.

“Fraser and him are good friends and I think even Fraser’s buzzing Alex has performed the way he has.”

The 22-year-old believes Forster will keep working hard to get back in the team – despite the disappointment of missing his first game of the season after starting all 21 games from the beginning of the season to the Boxing Day thrashing at Spurs.

"Everyone knows what they’ve signed up for [in professional sport] and if they don’t they shouldn’t be in it," said McQueen.

“Fraser’s a professional player. He’s going to work just as hard as he was before.

“You never know, football is so chop and change, next week Fraser could be back in and he could have the game of his life and could be an absolute hero.

“No one lets things get to them that much; they just worry about themselves, worry about their personal issues and deal with them in the best way they can.”

McQueen revealed that manager Mauricio Pellegrino’s attitude helped Saints pull themselves out of the doldrums at United – and now they want to build on it against Crystal Palace tonight at St Mary's.

He said: “It was mentality; the manager has a great mentality of never say die, never give up and believe in what you do and what you do as person.

“He believes in us as players and a team. Boxing Day was tough, people were obviously devastated – there was a bit of worry.

“But the manager and the senior players know how to get out those situations.

"We just worked on going back to basics, organisation on the training ground and working on things as a unit rather than individually.

“Tonight I think that showed the way we working, the way we pressed and dropped off and slid across the pitch as a team.

“We didn’t leave any gaps.”

He added: “I’m shattered a little bit. Personally I was just trying to keep up with the pace of the game. It was my first game in a while so I was a bit off the pace to start with.

“But as a team I think we were really good, really organised and through a tough period I think that gives us a block to build something from hopefully.”