Mark Hughes has confirmed that captain Steven Davis will continue a frustrating spell on the sidelines as he nurses a repetitive ankle injury.
The Northern Irishman will be unavailable for this weekend's south coast showdown with Bournemouth, without a timespan placed on his return, but the manager will welcome back defender Jack Stephens, who has now served his three match suspension.
Hughes also conceded that this Saturday's game is a must-win for Saints, but is confident that his side are focussed and well prepared for the four-game run-in, including this season's top scorer Charlie Austin.
"We welcome back Jack Stephens from his suspension, so that gives us more options there," the boss asserted.
"Steven Davis is unfortunately struggling with his achilles again, which is an irritant to us and him. We'll have to see where we go with it.
"Our fixtures have been difficult since I've been here, one home game, so it's not been easy. Clearly now we need performances and results.
"Charlie is fine, he's available. We're pleased with what he's showing. He's a guy that will create chances and test goalkeepers, that is what we need. Given a run of games, Charlie will always score goals!"