Ralph Hasenhüttl is waiting on late fitness test successes for Shane Long and Jannik Vestergaard ahead of Friday night’s visit of Liverpool.
With Danny Ings ineligible due to the loan agreement with his parent club, the Austrian is hopeful that the return of Long will offer a timely additional striking option at St Mary’s.
Also pushing to prove his readiness is defender Vestergaard who sat out last Saturday’s 1-0 over Brighton. Maya Yoshida and Jan Bednarek deputised in his absence in a 4-2-2-2 system that Hasenhüttl is considering re-deploying against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.
"The flexibility of our game is rising and that means we can play different shapes now," he said. "In the last game we switched to a 4-2-2-2 and surprised them a little bit; I must say I like this shape and it worked very well. This is the kind of development we need at this stage of the season, to have the ability to do something different.
“Ingsy is not allowed to play so we have to have a new guy in the offensive position. Longy is back in training and Jannik trained again with the team too; he might be an option but we have Jack Stephens as an alternative.
“It is a pity that Mario Lemina is not back in training with us as well, he needed a bit more time to rest.
“I’m sure we will see him again this season but it can be hard when you have a long break and try to train again. We want to raise the intensity step by step for him before we bring him back.”