Mark Hughes has confirmed that Steven Davis is set to be his team’s only injury concern ahead of Saturday’s Premier League visit of Chelsea.
The Saints boss had hoped to reintroduce the Northern Ireland skipper for last weekend’s meeting with Arsenal but a lack of progress since then is likely to keep him out for the Blues.
“We hoped that Steven was going to be available last weekend,” the Welshman said. “He had a late fitness test on the Saturday but unfortunately he hasn’t progressed at any kind of rate so he hasn’t been back with the group yet.”
Joining Davis on the sidelines will be the suspended Jack Stephens, sent off for an incident off the ball involving the Gunners' Jack Wilshere.
Hughes admitted that while the defender's absence has had an effect on his team's preparations this week, he is confident in the rearguard options at his disposal.
"The absence of Jack has affected our plans, we worked very hard on that system before Arsenal," he added. "I've got some decisions to make whether we go like for like with a younger player like Jan Bednarek or change things around and revert to a four-man defence.
"I'm grateful for the options that we’ve got even if continuity is key at this stage of the season. Jan has played at a good level in Poland in front of big crowds so going out there with pressure to perform is nothing new to him. If I decide that he’s the best option then I’d have no qualms with putting him in."
Also pushing for contention is Shane Long and Hughes is hopeful that the striker will play a part at St Mary’s having been prematurely withdrawn at the Emirates Stadium for Josh Sims ten minutes from time.
“Shane is okay, even if he hasn’t been with the group until today,” he added. “If he doesn’t get a reaction later on and trains well tomorrow then he’ll be in the squad.”