Jay Rodriguez to step up return from knee injury with Southampton Under-21s cameo

Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez will make his return from injury tonight as he appears for the club's Under-21 side away at Leicester City.

Jay Rodriguez to step up return from knee injury with Southampton Under-21s cameo
(Picture: Getty Images)

Jay Rodriguez is set to play his first competitive match tonight since returning to full training from a serious knee injury.

The forward has travelled with the Southampton U21s squad for their game against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

Good timing

The Saints have got a lot of competition in the forward-line, but of late it hasn't been firing too much and the two players who were playing the most consistently out of them, Shane Long and Charlie Austin, both picked up injuries in the defeat to Afc Bournemouth last Tuesday.

So long as Rodriguez comes through the match without any further damage, you would expect him to travel with the first-team this weekend as they look to get back to winning ways at the Britannia Stadium against Stoke City.

Rodriguez suffered his original knee injury almost two years ago at City. (Picture: www.skysports.com)
Rodriguez suffered his original knee injury almost two years ago at City. (Picture: www.skysports.com)

Also, Rodriguez has been out for number of months now and has really yet to fully return from the anterior cruciate ligament injury he picked up at the Etihad against Manchester City in April 2014.

That saw the forward out of the game for over a year, which scuppered his chances of going to the World Cup in the summer of 2014, and he will be keen to make up for lost time.

No need to rush

Although, Southampton will be hoping to get the services of the former Burnley man back as quickly as possible, it is vital that they don't rush the final process as just one little change in the plan could once more hamper Rodriguez's return and set back his recovery, which is the last thing that he or the club need.

He has played a number of times already this season, but hasn't featured since the draw against Leicester City at St Mary's all the way back in October and he has been working hard in order to come back as soon as possible. 

Having gone through this process at a sensible pace, it would be madness to suddenly just rush it all and potentially ruin Rodriguez's hopes of a return this season - and building up his fitness with the Under-21s could be vital to his hopes.