Striking Crisis Ahead Of Leicester City Trip Thursday, 10th Jan 2019 20:39
Saints face a shortage of strikers through injury and suspension when they travel to Leicester City on Saturday.
Saints look to be short handed up front on Saturday with Danny Ings and Michael Obafemi both likely to miss a trip to the East Midlands for a second week running, they wil also be joined on the sidelines by Charlie Austin who has received a two match ban for his gesture to Manchester City fans in the final game of 2018, he of course is also joined by Pierre Emile Hojbjerg also banned.
Ralph Hasenhuttl commented on the situation at this afternoon's press conference and it wasn't good news.
"Michael Obafemi is going to take longer than we first thought, it's a tendon injury. That isn't good for us because we could use his speed."
"Danny Ings can be an option for the Everton game, I hope so. Sam Gallagher is also back on the pitch, he's had two sessions now. He looks good, which is good news."
But with Gallagher looking unlikely to feature due to fitness levels after a lengthy spell out injured that leaves the Austrian with Shane Long as the only fit striker and that is compounded with Manolo Gabbiadini not likely to make this game his swansong with a move to Sampdoria imminent.
Ralph does have options up front aside from Long, he could use either Nathan Redmond or Josh Sims in more advanced roles and Stuart Armstrong could also be utilised, but overall it is a crisis.
Ryan Bertrand also remains unavailable following a back problem, but has returned to the training pitch,
"Not for the Leicester game, it's far too early," the manager responded in answer to a question over Bertrand's condition. "He is training fit, but not match fit. It will take time.
Charlie Austin who has received a two match ban for his gesture to Manchester City fans is a joke. That would not of happened if he played for a top six club. More Trouble because of the lack of investment in the summer. We got Danny Ings who has yet to be fully fit.
Oh dear, it's a bit of a mess isn't it. We don't know how wealthy our 4/5 owner is but the lack of activity so far doesn't suggest any urgency to plug the gaps in the team e.g proven CB and a proven goal scorer. Ralph H isn't silly so I'm assuming he was briefed on what he could/couldn't expect in terms of financial support before he took the job on. January is a bad time to buy as we know so may as well put the silly money up front a third into January rather than really panic on the 31st January. Option b is to stick with what we have and genuinely gamble on relegation. Do saints have a plan any more or have we returned to the late 90's of merely surviving?
Of course he was a 'repeat offender' after the Watford rant. I agree that a 'big six' player wouldn't get this ban. His gesture was no more offensive than Klopp bringing on Lovren right at the end at St. Mary's last season. Both were feck you gestures.
Why can't Gabby have a 'swan-song'? He is ours until we sell him so why not sell on Sunday. He is more likely to score than serial barn-door misser Long.
Let's face it, almost anyone who isn't; absent, injured, suspended or "out of favour" has the chance to get some game time v. Leicester. Shane Long is the only "fit" striker, but hasn't scored for yonks anyway. Then again If Sam Gallagher doesn't get game time - he never will....even 60 minutes would be something.
The midfield will still be without PEH, but is Lemina properly fit ..or?...and the defence is without Hoedt and Yoshida. Team almost picks itself - doesn't it? ..but don't be surprised to see Ralph put even more U23's lads on the bench. What choice does he have?
BUT ..it's just this sort of game that often springs surprises - so I'm going for a Saints win.
It appears to be a perfect storm caused solely by the owners reluctance to spend proper money on proven fit players.
Austin is and always will be a loose cannon even leaving aside his injury record. Ings has a frankly appalling injury record and Long has regretfully completely lost it in regard to his striking ability.Add in the fact that it appears we are about to sell Gabby and we are now left simply nursing a self inflicted wound.
Presumably the manager will have no option tomorrow but to pack the midfield and defence and play for a point a la Chelsea last week. If ever you needed an example of you only reap what you sow look no further than the current owners of S F C.
Our so-called strike force has not been worthy of the name all season but we now seem to be in the mother of all messes with virtually everyone of them banned or injured or sold. I suppose it'll be Mr Plod to lead the attack.
Stevens at the back, Mr Plod at the front, Forster in goal - a spine that makes your own spine tingle with excitement!
We are down lads, no question - the death by a thousand cuts is imminent, Gabbi was the 1000th.