Hasenhuttl offers positive update on recovering Armstrong

Southampton
Stuart Armstrong

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl believes midfielder Stuart Armstrong could be back sooner than expected.

Armstrong is regarded as a key figure by Hasenhuttl but the Austrian is currently unable to rely on his services.

The Scotland international has not been seen since the 1-1 draw with Tottenham in the fourth round of the FA Cup on January 25.

He limped out of that clash at St Mary’s shortly before half-time after falling to the floor with a hip complaint.

Reports claimed he could be out of action for around a month but Hasenhuttl feels the midfielder might be back on the pitch much sooner, although Wednesday’s FA Cup replay will come too soon.

Hasenhuttl said: “Stuart is ahead of schedule. “He could maybe be fit quicker than we think, but fit for Wednesday, I don’t think so.”

Southampton’s recent form has boosted their chances of avoiding relegation from the Premier League this season, therefore a cup run is now on the agenda.

Hasenhuttl may previously have welcomed an early exit from the competition but a seven-point buffer to the drop zone gives them some breathing space.

However, the boss, who made minimal changes for the initial encounter with Spurs, admits he is yet to pick his starting  XI for the replay.

He added: “I haven’t seen the group yet, we train in the afternoon and we must have a look at how they are and how they feel. They invested a lot at the weekend so we must look at how fresh they are and how fit they are and then decide [who will play].”

Saints have enjoyed plenty of success over Tottenham in recent times, losing just once in the last four meetings, although that loss did come in north London earlier this season.

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