Following the international break, the Premier League returns to action and Southampton end this weekend's round of much-welcomed fixtures on Monday evening as they play host to south coast rivals Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Saints are eyeing their second domestic feat of the season having demolished Crystal Palace a fortnight ago with a stern performance on the road, and manager Mark Hughes is hoping to have two of his first-team players back in the squad for the visit of Chris Hughton's Seagulls.
Hughes' men sit in a comfortable 12th position in the top-flight ladder with one victory to claim, as well as one goalless draw and two successive losses.
"None of the internationals have reported injuries" - Hughes
Southampton had a number of senior players earn a call-up to their respective national teams, including shot-stopper Alex McCarthy for England - who still awaits his anticipated Three Lions' debut.
Thankfully, speaking to the media on Thursday, Mark Hughes has confirmed there are no fresh injuries of concern from those who were on international duty:
“None of the internationals have reported injuries as we stand, so we’re hoping none are reported today.”
However, the striking options are short in supply with a trio of forwards sustaining injuries in recent weeks whilst plying their trade for the club, including summer acquisition Danny Ings:
“We have concerns with Shane Long and Charlie Austin, who haven’t trained this week," said Hughes, "but we’re hoping to have them back over the weekend.''
The former is still waiting to get off the mark this season despite featuring on three separate occasions, with the Irishman falling down the pecking order at St. Mary's. Meanwhile, Austin has one goal to his name this term having netted the winner against Brighton in the Carabao Cup last month.
Hughes confident over Ings
Ings, on loan from Liverpool with a view to making it a permanent deal, slotted the second in Southampton's triumph at Selhurst Park but was playing alongside a blister issue he sustained in the defeat to Everton, although Mark Hughes is positive the striker will line-up against Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday:
“Danny has a bad blister. He tore a chunk of skin off his foot against Everton and he was taking painkillers to stop the pain. He’s not having injections anymore and he’s back in training, so we’re hoping there are no more problems with that.”
The Seagulls, themselves, come into this encounter with the Saints on the back of a terrific result, having gone two goals behind to tally a point against Fulham in a 2-2 display.