Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard is set to miss the team’s trip to Newcastle United this weekend.
The Saints go head to head with Rafa Benitez’s men on Saturday evening but are likely to be forced into coping without the central defender, who is a doubt for the match.
Vestergaard missed the 1-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion on March 30 because of a groin problem but returned for the 3-1 defeat against Liverpool and the 3-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in recent weeks.
However, it seems he is still struggling to return to full fitness and will be assessed ahead of the clash against Newcastle.
Speaking to the media as he previewed Southampton’s trip to St James’ Park, Ralph Hasenhuttl discussed Vestergaard’s condition. As reported by the club’s official website, he said:
Jannik Vestergaard has a little bit of a problem and didn’t train the last two days, but today maybe he will step back in team training. Like in the last weeks, also after intense games, he had some little problems and needed a little bit longer for recovery.
It’s a long season for a huge body, and in the moment he’s struggling a little bit, but we will have a look to see if it is possible for him at the weekend.
Hasenhuttl reverted to a back-four system in the Danish defender’s absence against Brighton and could be tempted to replicate this tactical tweak against the Magpies.
Assessing the key battles between Newcastle and Southampton
Rondon v Bednarek
Salomon Rondon will be hoping to get himself back in the goals, but Jan Bednarek will be desperate to silence the Venezuelan striker.
Lascelles v Ings
Jamaal Lascelles faces a difficult task. He’ll need to keep Southampton striker Danny Ings quiet, as his movement is likely to cause problems.
Yedlin v Redmond
DeAndre Yedlin will need to put his pace to good use when he comes up against Nathan Redmond, who will be confident after netting twice against Wolves last weekend.
Hayden v Hojbjerg
Isaac Hayden plays an important role for Newcastle, and the midfield battle will be fierce. Saints captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg must be up for the fight.