Nigel Adkins is facing a selection dilemma ahead of tomorrow’s crunch visit of Sunderland as he tries to cope with the absence of captain Adam Lallana.

And it could be that £7m striker Jay Rodriguez ends up playing in the skipper’s left midfield role.

As revealed by the Daily Echo ten days ago, the skipper will miss the first of Saints’ festive fixtures with a ligament injury to his right knee that makes him a major doubt to return to the team over the Christmas and New Year period.

Lallana has adapted well to life in the Premier League and Adkins’ settled side have seen a marked improvement in form to lift themselves out of the relegation zone – even if only on goal difference.

They will be desperate to bag another three points against fellow strugglers Sunderland tomorrow, but will have to do it without Lallana.

That leaves Adkins with a dilemma as to how to replace him.

The two most obvious options are to stick with the 4-4-2 he fielded against Reading, but with Gaston Ramirez on the left wing.

That would leave Rickie Lambert and Rodriguez as the front pairing.

Or Adkins could revert back to the 4-2-3-1 set-up he has utilised with a straight swap for Lallana, possibly in the shape of Rodriguez who has figured on the left before.

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