Ralph Hasenhüttl is hopeful James Ward-Prowse can feature in Saturday’s Premier League meeting with Burnley at St Mary’s after recovering from a knee injury.
The influential midfielder, who has operated at right-back in the last two outings, was forced off in the FA Cup replay against Tottenham last Wednesday with a deep laceration.
However, having returned to training this week, the manager is optimistic Ward-Prowse can continue his ever-present record.
“Today [Thursday] was the first time back on the pitch,” Hasenhüttl said. “We tried to keep him out as long out as possible, as players always like to come back on the pitch.
“He handled it well, I think. We must now pay attention that the cut is not going to open again, but it looks good and hopefully he can play at the weekend.”
Having filled in at full-back in recent matches, Hasenhüttl hinted at a return to a more familiar midfield position for the 25-year-old, with Kyle Walker-Peters potentially inline to make his Saints debut.
“He [Ward-Prowse] looks good and he’s an important player for our team. We now have a few more options so he can now play in the number six position.
“We have Kyle [Walker-Peters] who can play for the first time and Yan Valery is back, so we have a few more options and the squad has a very good balance.
“Kyle has trained now for a few weeks and showed that he can help us and I think has learned our habits and our behaviours, which is important for him.”