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Southampton Have Double Striker Injury Worries Ahead Of Wembley Date
Monday, 20th May 2024 09:12

As Saints ramp up their preparations for the trip to Wembley on Sunday to take on Leeds United in the Championship play off final, the fans concerns are all about whether they will be missing two vital striking options.

When Che Adams limped off at Elland Road on the final day of the regular season, ironically against Sunday's opponents Leeds United, Russell martin was quick to play down the injury, suggesting that taking him off had merely been a precaution and that he expected him to be fit for the play off semi final against West Brom.

That was the line peddled before both the first leg of the semi final and also the second leg, where Martin kept up the "Expected to play" pretext.

Independent media outlet southamptonfcnews have suggested that this might have been the manager was masking the true extent of Adams’ injury to disrupt West Brom’s preparations.

So with Adams heavily linked with a move to Wolverhampton Wanderers when his contract ends in six weeks time, Southampton fans are asking whether the striker has already played his last game for the club, or whether he will be fit for a Wembley swansong.

But perhaps even more worrying was the fact that Ross Stewart played no part in Friday night's win over the Baggies, he returned to the pitch in that game against Leeds in the 83rd minute to replace Adams as he limped off and then subsequently played 30 minutes in the first leg of the semi finals at the Hawthorns.

This has been his only action since making just two short appearances back in November, his first action since being injured for Sunderland in January 2023.

It was no surprise to see his name on the bench against West Brom on Friday evening, he was expected to build on his first couple of cameo roles, but it seems that even these were a little bit too much too soon.

Russell Martin has had this to say:

He’s (Stewart’s) fine, yeah.”

“He took a whack in the first leg, but he’s taken part in some training and he was only going to be used tonight if we really, really needed him.

“We are really expecting him to be fully fit and recovered in time for the final as well. It could be two really big options for us with Che Adams.”

So the question is just how fit are either striker, the suggestion for Ross Stewart is that he has received a knock rather than a muscular injury pull, so that could give him a fighting chance of playing some part at Wembley, he took part in the warm up before Friday night's game, but it was reported his warm up was less intense than the rest of his team mates, it was assumed at the time this was merely to do with building up his fitness, but clearly it was about the knock.

However he was moving freely and it seems that Martin is not lying when he says that he was only going to be used if necessary, that is good to hear and the hope is that with 9 days between the semi and the final, Stewart will be fully recovered, although it would seem that he will not be ready just yet for a starting line up appearance at Wembley.

Che Adams is a lot less clear, he too will have had another 9 days to allow his injury to recover, I am sure that Russell Martin will continue to keep his opponents guessing, so we will not know the exact truth of the situation until an hour before kick off.

One thing though does look certain and that is that nether will be ready for the starting line up against Leeds.

The good news is that the squad is big enough to cover the loss, Adam Armstrong can play through the centre and we have plenty of options out wide to support him.

Che Adams will be a loss, but not a catastrophe, it should be remembered that he didn't score in any of the first 11 games of our 22 match unbeaten run in the Championship.

Although he came to the fore in the second half of that run and indeed in the final part of the season, Saints proved that they could both score and win without him, so though he will be a loss and we would rather have him in the squad on Saturday than not, it is a blow that we can cover.

Ross Stewart is slightly different, in truth he has contributed little in his 4 appearances, that is not a slur, just a matter of fact, they have been short sharp and sweet and more about getting him back into the side rather than truly making a contribution, indeed we are yet to score a goal as a team during any of his time played on the pitch.

This having been said he is a proven goalscorer, so he will be our wild card at Wembley, we have got to the play off final without him, so we are not relying on him, whatever he can contribute is a bonus and I would not write off Ross Stewart as being the hero of the hour on Sunday.

Photo: Action Images

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JoeEgg added 11:22 - May 20
Clearly the final will be a tremendous occasion for both teams. Expect many rumours and stories before the end of the week.
For me it will be fascinating to compare the two managers Daniel Farke and Russell Martin. The players have to do the business on the pitch, but I have a feeling the two managers will have an enormous influence on the eventual outcome!

Block8 added 12:28 - May 20
We are a better team with Adams up front, goals or not!

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