Ronald Koeman says Jay Rodriguez should return to training within the next fortnight.
The forward has not played since mid-October, having undergone surgery on a nerve problem in his foot.
But Saints boss Koeman revealed on Friday that there is light at the end of the tunnel for Rodriguez, who missed the entire 2014/15 season with a knee injury.
“He’s still working on an individual programme but I have good hope he will be part of the group in one week or ten days,” confirmed Koeman in the second part of his pre-match press conference.
Koeman added that he expects Rodriguez to return to action with “at least one” appearance for the club’s under-21 side.
The striker discussed his injury on Sky Sports’ Soccer AM last weekend, saying: “It was really annoying.
“I thought I could carry on playing with it, but it was getting worse and worse. It was affecting the way I ran, so we decided that surgery would be the best way.
“It was simple procedure of taking the nerve out, literally. From then on, it was just rehab.
“I’ve done a bit of running and now it’s about getting match-fit, so hopefully I can join in training as soon as possible because I think we’re doing really well at the moment.”