Downes to be part of the squad as Stewart edges closer

2023-24/Training/20240426 SFC Training/20240426_SFC_Training_066_ofi6nc

Southampton manager Russell Martin offered an update on a trio of players as they prepare for the visit of Stoke City in the Sky Bet Championship.

Downes was substituted during the half-time break of Saints' win over Preston at St Mary's ten days ago, missing the trips to Cardiff and Leicester.

With the midfielder back out on the training pitch, the manager has offered caution ahead of a much anticipated return.

"We won’t risk Flynn Downes, he’s in the squad," said Martin. "If he gets on the pitch tomorrow it’ll be part of the plan, if he doesn’t it’s also part of the plan."

Fellow midfielder Joe Rothwell was replaced during the first half of Tuesday night's defeat. He is also nearing a full return.

"Joe Rothwell is better we’re hoping to have him involved tomorrow. He didn’t do the whole training session, he won’t start the game but hopefully he’ll be involved."

Finally, a welcome update was given on Ross Stewart, who could be involved during the all-important run-in.

"Ross will be on the bench next week against Leeds. He’s come through training well so we’ll see how he recovers. All being well, we look forward to having him in the squad."

Elsewhere Sékou Mara will return to the side following his suspension.

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