Austin in contention

By SFC Media time Thu 29 Mar West Ham v Saints
Photo by James Bridle | Charlie Austin

With longterm absentee Charlie Austin nearing full fitness, manager Mark Hughes has today confirmed that the striker is making significant strides towards a competitive return.

Saints travel to West Ham this weekend, in a crucial fixture for both sides, and as the manager continues to assesses his forward options, has suggested he would be keen to reintroduce the 28-year-old at the London Stadium.

Saturday's clash will be Hughes's first Premier League game in charge of Southampton, and the return of Austin could yet provide a timely boost ahead of a vital period for the club.

"We're hopeful, he [Charlie] is very keen to be involved," the boss asserted. "We've got to be mindful that he's been out for some time, it was a significant injury.

"The medical staff have been reviewing Charlie's injury, so we get a better understanding of what he needs to come back in to the team and how we manage him.

"He's done exceptionally well to get back so quickly, and he's a goalscorer. Clearly one of the issues has been a lack of goals, and when Charlie had a run in the side his record was there for all to see.

"He's instinctive and tests keepers so if we can welcome him back for this key period, clearly that is going to help us."

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