Ralph Hasenhüttl hopes Moussa Djenepo will be available for the Premier League meeting with Brighton at St Mary’s, but says he must make a late decision on the Southampton winger’s fitness.
The Mali international was withdrawn at half-time against Manchester City in midweek, having clearly suffered a problem in overstretching as he took a shot at goal.
The boss explained how Djenepo’s body can be unpredictable in how it reacts to injuries, but hopes he will return to training ahead of Sunday’s south-coast showdown.
“Moussa was out after 30 minutes in the last game,” Hasenhüttl said. “It doesn’t look that bad, so hopefully he can start training by the end of the week so he can be an alternative for the weekend, but we don’t know it yet.
“Sometimes with Moussa his body reacts in a strange way. Sometimes it feels worse than it is in the end, but when you scan him he immediately shows a lot of blood in muscles when he has odd injuries, so we have to pay attention to how tough the injury definitely is.
“This is not so easy for our physios to see clearly, because sometimes he reacts better than they think, and when he takes the test it looks better than it should be normally, so it is always tough to decide whether he is available or not.”
Meanwhile, Hasenhüttl reiterated that top scorer Danny Ings will miss the Brighton game, as well as next weekend’s Emirates FA Cup quarter-final at Bournemouth.
“He is for sure out until the international break, I think. Hopefully we have him back after the international break,” he added.
Saints’ first game after the March internationals is against Burnley at St Mary’s, which is currently scheduled for Saturday 3rd April.