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Having made a number of impressive performances in pre-season, the midfielder is hoping to have forced his way into manager Nigel Adkins' plans for next season

Southampton midfielder Jason Puncheon has said he is desperate to establish himself in the club’s first team as their preparations for the new season gather pace.

Saints earned promotion to the Premier League last season, and Puncheon is keen to stay at St. Mary’s, having had a number of loan spells recently.

"My time here has been up and down," Puncheon told reporters.

"I always knew that coming back last year was a bit difficult because it was the middle of the season and the team were doing well.

"I knew I had to come back in pre-season when I would be on a level pegging with everyone, and that's happening now."

Puncheon has also claimed that the upcoming season will be a crucial one, both personally and for the club as a whole.

He added: "This season is very important for everybody at the football club, and for myself.

"It's time to knuckle down. I'm not getting ahead of myself, but I'm feeling good in terms of my body. I'm quite happy with my football and how the team is going.

"I'll just keep going and see where it takes me."

The 26-year-old Puncheon has found himself out of favour in recent times with Saints manager, Nigel Adkins, and has spent time on loan at Millwall, Blackpool and QPR.

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