Valerien Ismael would like to see FA Cup replays scrapped in the third and fourth rounds, with smaller clubs drawn away given the option to play the one single game at home.

The Hornets face the second of three successive midweek away games tonight against Southampton at St Mary’s, as do their supporters – and if the original tie at Vicarage Road had gone to extra time and/or penalties, it would have been a game less in a hectic schedule.

“I think we have to rethink the laws of the FA Cup, and we can find some better solutions,” said Ismael.

“I know that the smaller teams want a replay if they good a good result, but I think maybe until the fifth round perhaps the lower team should be able play at home even if they are drawn away.

“That would be a solution to just have one game, and make sure we can think about the safety of the players with all the games we have.

“I think football needs to think about everything, and find a way that makes everyone happy.

“For me, cup games should be knockout games – having a replay sounds like it’s not a cup game.

“I think it’s a good chance to rethink the rules, and not just for the players but also for the fans who have to travel.”

Of course, the victors tonight will have another midweek away game on the horizon, with a visit to Liverpool on live TV awaiting the winners.

“I think the trip to Liverpool would be a great reward for the players,” said Ismael

“Both teams know the reward for this game, and you know why you are fighting to win.

“But before we can think about Liverpool we have Southampton away, and we will have to be our best to earn that reward.”

Reports from the south coast suggest Southampton, who made nine changes for the original game, are likely to dig deep into their squad again.

Does that make it harder for Ismael and his players to prepare?

“No because we are not playing against players, we are playing against a system,” he said.

“They have a clear way to play, and this is the third time we will be playing them so we know them perfectly.

“We know exactly their patterns will be the same, the areas they want to play in, and so for us we play the system, not the players.

“Having played them twice so recently is an advantage in preparing before the game when, like now, you don’t have time to prepare as you would without a midweek game.

“We can use clips from the previous games against them with their last few games, to see if there is something different.

“But Southampton have an excellent manager with a clear way to play and a clear identity. That won’t change overnight.”

Ismael said he is no stranger to facing the same opponent multiple times during the same season, even if the one you happen to be playing next hasn’t lost in 23 games.

“I had the experience of this when I was in Austria, because you have a regular season schedule and then you have the play-off schedule and you play four times against each team.

“I think we came really close to beating Southampton last time, so if any team is able to beat them then we are the team because I think we played twice and you could see they were really close games.

“We created a lot of chances but now it’s away from home and that’s different, but we do know how to play against Southampton.”