Belfast Telegraph

Charlie Austin could make Southampton return after international break

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman expects Charlie Austin to be fit after the international break.

The striker, a £4million January signing from QPR, saw his promising start to life at St Mary's curtailed by a hamstring injury against Bournemouth last week.

But Koeman has received positive news regarding Austin's fitness and has pencilled him for a return against leaders Leicester at the start of next month.

"The latest update about Charlie is that he will be out for another 10 days to two weeks," said Koeman.

"With the schedule of the season that means he will be fit after the international break."

Koeman can welcome back another forward, Shane Long, at Stoke on Saturday after the Irishman missed last weekend's 1-1 draw against Sunderland with a knee problem.

However, captain Jose Fonte will be missing through suspension following his red card against the Black Cats, meaning a reshuffle at the back.

"Shane is back, he has trained all week without any problems and he can play," added Koeman.

"We don't have a lot of replacements for Fonte in that position, but we have enough defenders so we will make the best choice that we think will be good for Saturday.

"Of course it's a blow, for several reasons. He's an important player, he's the captain of the team, but a red card means you are suspended and it's up to the rest of the players to replace captain."


From Belfast Telegraph