Mark Hughes has confirmed that the fitness of Danny Ings is his only major concern ahead of Saturday's return to Premier League action at Fulham.
The striker was prematurely withdrawn from the 1-1 draw with Watford before the international break and Hughes admitted that the striker is unlikely to be ready in time for the encounter at Craven Cottage.
“Danny is the big doubt at the moment,” he said. “He’s only just got out on the grass so maybe tomorrow we might be able to integrate him into the group. As we stand at the moment, he has to be a doubt.”
Late assessments will also be made on Moi Elyounoussi and Mario Lemina but the Saints boss suggested that both have a chance of featuring at the weekend.
“We’ve got a few niggles; Moi Elyounoussi has a bit of tightness in his hamstring and Mario Lemina has an issue with his thigh which we’ve been managing for a number of weeks now and we’ve just got to keep an eye on it. Those two should be okay but Danny is our main concern.”
All but guaranteed to take his place in Saturday’s line-up is Matt Targett, the full-back the “obvious choice” to step into the left-sided gap left by the suspension of Ryan Bertrand. For Hughes, Saints are “lucky” to have Targett as a ready-made option from the bench.
“We’re fortunate that we have someone of the quality of Matt to come in. It’s an obvious choice and one that I’ll make as long as he comes through training unscathed.
“We’re lucky to have Matt: he knows the level, he’s played many times in the Premier League and he’ll acquit himself very well I’m sure.
“He’s coming up against a team that he knows and he’ll have a good feeling going into the game. I sense Matt – along with everyone else – is really looking forward to the occasion.”