Southampton news: Hughes hopeful over strike duo

2 months ago

In the latest Southampton news, manager Mark Hughes is hoping to have Shane Long and Charlie Austin fit for Monday’s visit of Brighton.

The Saints have made a steady start to the 2018-19 campaign with four points from their opening four games to leave them just below mid-table.

Southampton, who are priced at 5/1 to be relegated with bet365, are looking to rebuild this term after flirting with relegation for the majority of 2017-18, ending the season just three points above the drop zone.

Hughes was appointed Mauricio Pellegrino’s successor in March and he managed to do just enough to get them safe.

Goals proved to be a major issue for the south coast club last season – hitting the back of the net just 37 times – and Hughes acknowledges they must improve in that area to avoid another relegation scrap.

The Welshman drafted Danny Ings from Liverpool over the summer and he already has two goals from his four appearances.

Long and Austin will also need to chip in on a more regular basis too and it looks like they will be available to feature against Brighton on Monday.

“We’ve got a little concern with Shane and Charlie, actually, because they haven’t trained this week but we’re hoping to get them back for Saturday or Sunday,” Hughes said.

“Hopefully that will give us the options we want.”

The 54-year-old believes the trio, along with Manolo Gabbiadini, provide plenty of variety in the forward line.

“What we’ve got is good variation.

“I’m happy with the different qualities each of them brings to the party.”

The St Mary’s outfit head into Monday’s game with a strong recent record against their south coast rivals.

Indeed, Southampton are unbeaten in their last four meetings with Brighton, winning two and drawing two, while they haven’t lost at home to the Seagulls since they met in League One in 2009.

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