Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl heads into Sunday’s match against West Brom with his full complement of attacking players to choose from for the first time in a number of months.
The Saints boss confirmed Nathan Redmond has recovered from an ankle injury that has kept him out since the opening game of the season and could feature at least among the substitutes this weekend at St Mary’s.
With Stuart Armstrong having missed the first match of the campaign, Moussa Djenepo having been absent at the back end of 2019/20, and Redmond and Armstrong having both had spells out before that, Hasenhüttl has not had the opportunity to select from a fully-fit attacking group since January.
While he is pleased to be able to do so, he also believes some patience will be required before everyone is fully up to speed.
Hasenhüttl said: ”We had the issue in the pre-season also when Reddy was out sometimes with injuries, and now again an injury. He's still not on the level he has had after lockdown where he came back from injury and had a long, long time to work on it during the lockdown.
“You could see he was fitter and he could run more, and now he's still fighting back. It will take a little bit, but we have next week in the international break when we can also work on him, he can work on his fitness and hopefully he's coming back to the highest level.”
Another squad boost came last Saturday too, when Jannik Vestergaard came into the side for his first start of the season and turned in a man-of-the-match performance at centre-back in the 1-0 win at Burnley.
Hasenhüttl is hopeful his defender will take further confidence from that moving forward.
"Every time you give a chance to a player you hope that he performs well and I think Jannik did that,” he said. “I knew this game fitted for him, and in the future it can also be that I give other centre-backs a chance, because I think they fit better to the game.
“But it's important for him that he shows up and plays a good game, and this is what I expected. It is always for every player who plays well, when you put it in the right order then you can get the benefit of it, because the self-confidence is growing and you hopefully step in the next game a little bit better and a little bit more positive.
ralph hasenhüttlwe are looking on the transfer market to still get players in.
"Our squad is not the biggest one and it's always good if you have players you can bring in. This is the reason why we are looking on the transfer market still to get players in, because we know that we have not so many alternatives instead of the young players, and the young players must also show up and get better quickly because you don't get to many chances in the Premier League to show up.
“It's brutal sometimes, but this is the Premier League. You cannot wait until the young players come in five or six times to play, the second or third time they must show that they have the quality for the Premier League, otherwise the next one will come.”