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Tadanari Lee to make Premier League bow?
10:40am Monday 17th December 2012 in Sport
The Japanese striker has yet to feature in the Premier League after a promising start to his Saints career was halted in its tracks by injury.
Lee has been trying to prove his fitness and form as an overage player in the under-21s and is hoping for another chance to do exactly that tonight as Saints take on Newcastle in the first game to be played by the team at the Silverlake Stadium since a tie up with Eastleigh.
The 26-year-old arrived to quite a fanfare when he signed almost a year ago and enjoyed a decent start as he settled into life at the club, scoring a memorable goal against Derby.
However, injury problems have never been too far away for Lee who has figured just twice this season.
Both of those games have been in the Capital One Cup, with a goal in the comfortable 4-1 win at Stevenage and 67 minutes in the defeat at Leeds.
The knee ligament injury to Lallana, which is likely to rule him out for at least the Christmas and New Year fixtures, has opened the door to a number of Saints’ fringe players to step forward and try and grab themselves a spot in what has been a settled, and successful, side of late.
Being left footed and an energetic presence Lee could slot into the role filled by Lallana but he has serious competition to fend off.
Jay Rodriguez has also played there while Gaston Ramirez and Jason Puncheon are also both comfortable in that position, which could open the door for the likes of Emmanuel Mayuka and Guly do Prado who have had to settle for spots on the bench.
And that is assuming that Adkins keeps the same formation without Lallana’s considerable presence.
Saints are allowed to field three over-age players in their under-21s side.
Saints’ under-21s are battling for a place in the Elite Group Stage of the Professional Development League and will play more home games at the Silverlake after Christmas.