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Southampton Boost As Injured Trio Return To Training
Thursday, 4th Mar 2021 07:46

It is a big game at Bramall Lane against Sheffield United on Saturday and Saints were handed a big boost as pictures of the team training showed three of the injury list returning to training with the full squad.

Pictures of the squad training on Wednesday morning saw some good news for Saints supporters, not only did all the team from Monday's game at Everton seem to be fit and well, but crucially also back in the squad were Kyla Walker Peters, Ibrahima Diallo and Takumi Minamino.

That is good news, although a return to training does not mean that they are ready to return on Saturday for the game against the Blades.

Takumi Minamino has perhaps the best chance, he has only been missed the defeat at Everton so presumably has only had a minor knock and his fitness level will still be high.

Kyle Walker Peters and Ibrahima Diallo may not be quite ready Walker Peters has only played twice since injuring himself against Arsenal in the FA Cup six weeks ago, he had a brief return against Wolves in both Cup & League but ultimately has not trained fully for much of that six weeks, so not only do the club have to be careful not to bring him back too quickly with his injury, but there is the question of his fitness levels, Ralph might have one eye on ensuring he is fit for the Brighton Premier League game and the Bournemouth cup tie, as these are the two games where he will be most needed in terms of what is at stake.

It is a similar case for Diallo, like KWP he has played just twice since the Arsenal Cup tie on 23rd January, in the second of those games against Aston Villa he was forced off on the hour mark and hasn't kicked a ball in anger since, so that is a full five weeks out.

Given that his game is all about energy and battling in the centre of midfield, he too might not be risked in the starting line up, but held back on the bench.

Of course the game against Sheffield United is important, but Ralph has to make sure that he doesn't rush players back from injury, given the way that the Blades play , sitting back and gong on the break, the manager may feel that he can start the game without KWP & Diallo.

He has hinted that Djenepo might be employed as a right back on Saturday and he might feel that he can also get away with it without Diallo in this one.

Minamino may be a different matter and I would expect him to play possibly in place of Salisu with Djenepo dropping to right back as previously mentioned.

Whatever the case though, it is good to see all three back in training and as the squad gets back to somewhere nearing full strength, it will be good to have them back for what will be some crucial games in the next few weeks.

Photo: Action Images

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stmichael added 09:45 - Mar 4
We cannot afford to go anything but full strength for Saturday.
Blunt reality is they are currently a better side than us.
They have been for some time as in the last 12 games they have accumulated more points than us.
We will do well to come home with a point and if we muck around with stupid ideas like Djnepo at wing back we will get beat.
To be honest if that is the kind of muddled thinking currently taking place in the managers office it is no wonder we are losing every week.

LordDZLucan added 10:58 - Mar 4
I disagree, stmichael. I think the key is not to rush the trio back too quickly. The last thing we need is for them to get injured again. Losing against Sheffield United would be very disappointing but not terminal so I think 20/30 minutes from the bench is the best way to go.

SaintPaulVW added 11:22 - Mar 4
I'm still of the opinion that KWP was rushed back last time. I just hope that if he was, in our eagerness to turn things around, we don't make the same mistake twice. Similarly If Diallo comes back I don't think he should play a full game.

We don't have to beat SU to stay up. We do have to improve on our recent performances.

For me the key isn't playing the best right back but making good chances and scoring goals. Armstrong needs to be freed up to play further forward. Ings and who ever partners him need to get better service and stay up field to provide outlets to make a quicker transition.

So in Centre Mid I think Jankewitz deserves another chance, as someone said the other day if he was good enough to start against MU he's good enough for SU. Alternativrly as has been floated often on TUI Jack Stephens.

If Ralph can get a few walking wounded a bit of game time, avoid further injuries and we can create some good chances up front that will be progress.



Block8 added 11:23 - Mar 4
We shouldn't need to rush these guys back, yes they would be first choice but we have a squad don't we? Ramsay's 20 not a kid and has just been given a new contract? Also I believe if you check he has made the most tackles at the club. Give him a game and let KWP recover fully. Play Djenepo in front of him and sit Redmond on the bench. We have definitely lost games due to trying to fit square pegs into round holes and Ralph should have learnt from it but he doesn't seem to have. We are constantly told we have very promising youngsters but very rarely do they get a chance to show it, 5 minute cameos in lost causes do not count. Tella came in and looks better than some of his senior colleagues? If it were me I would play Minamino up front, Armstrong wide and put one of the youngsters in the middle with JWP, to give us an energy boost in the middle of midfield. I get the feelin had Ralph been about we would never have seen the Wallace brothers, Le Tiss, Shearer, Bale, Shaw or many more of the youngsters that got early exposure to top flight football and rose to the occasion superbly, or are our youngsters simply not good enough?

underweststand added 16:26 - Mar 4
SaintPaulVW, Whilst I agree with much of what you wrote ..you also stated that - we don't have to beat SU to stay up (!) Sorry Paul, but I think that couldn't be further from the truth. Three wins should see us safe, but where will those 3 wins come from ?

Surely beating the bottom club now should be a priority - regardless of form. Any sort of win will give us a boost and 3 points more to consolidate our shaky mid-table position ...especially as the following fixture is away to Man City ..(21 games unbeaten).

Then we have a series of desperate games against the sides around us....before the prospect of difficult home fixtures against; Palace, Leicester and Leeds.. and finishing the season with away games v. Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham.
All this with a striker force that has managed just 5 goals in the last 9 games and yielded only ONE point. I find it hard to see where ANOTHER two wins will come from.

We have to play every player fit enough to lace up his boots, and pay serious attention to Ralph's comment ...about internationals travelling away - who may be quarantined for two weeks after they return. The prospect of our best players sitting it out at home - and viewing our games on TV - whilst watching us slump to yet another defeat is ridiculous.

Sheffield is a MUST WIN game - if ever there was one.


KriSaint added 01:01 - Mar 5
Tough call, and I've been thinking a lot about formation and game management. How about something like this:

I think Djenepo needs a little rest and therefore to be put on the bench. We saw his ankle bruised heavily twice thanks to pig tackles on him from Everton.
Minamino, who has two goals in three games, should start, because his injury was the least nasty, and he has only been out for at short while, and he will add something 'fresh' + with him, we have another hit man on the pitch. Both KWP and Diallo, however, have been out for far more games than Minamino, so I think I'll be happy if they are fit enough to get into the match squad for the Sh.U. game - on the bench - and be ready to come in and make an impact in the last 20-30 minutes of the game - a very important game. I agree with underweststand that we MUST take 3 points from this game. Reaching 33 points at this stage is vital and will make Fulham less confident of being able to catch US. Being 10 points behind us if we win - with 11 matches to go - I don't think , they can!
So, WIN Saints, WIN <3
A starting line up I would be ok with under the circumstances against a desperate team built of steel, would be this Leeds style physical 3-3-3-1 formation:
Stephens- JWP-Janckewits

After 60-70 minutes, and if possible, I'd like some thoughtful game management and formation change, like for instance:
Salisu, Janckewits & Stephens substituted for KWP, Diallo and Adams and convertion to 4-2-2-2 -> and full steam forwards for 3 points, the line up and formation now being:


SaintPaulVW added 07:11 - Mar 5
Underweststand. I agree with your analysis of the tricky games that we face until the end of the season. I am as keen as you are for Saints to return to winning games as soon as possible.

My view is that there are still 12 games and once the team is fully fit and confidence restored we have already shown that we are a match for any team in this league.

Wins against Chelsea, without Ings starting, and Man City last season and Liverpool this season showed that we can beat any team. So I just don't accept that we are left with only 3 must win games that if we fail in we are effectively doomed.

I really hope that we turn the corner and beat SU but I don't see it as a disaster if we don't win. I want to see us make some progress in our style of play and rehabilitate a few players so they can contribute fully in the last third of the season. I don't want to see us gambling players fitness on trying to get a win and then end up weakening the team for the rest of the run in.

Fingers crossed Saints will render this all academic by getting that elusive win tomorrow.

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