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Yoshida and Ramirez set to feature?
7:00am Saturday 27th July 2013 in Sport
The pair are training with the squad but have been given extra time away from the cut and thrust of competitive games following summer matches for Japan and Uruguay respectively in the Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Mauricio Pochettino and his Saints coaching staff have been monitoring the pair closely and will make a decision on whether now is the right time to reintroduce them to playing matches.
Saints are wary of putting them back into the side too soon and risking them burning out early in what will be an intense new season. Not only are there are plenty of domestic matches, but the pair are also likely to be flying round the world to compete for their countries during the international breaks.
It is a delicate balancing act for Pochettino, who is also aware of the need to ensure Yoshida and Ramirez are match ready for when the Premier League season kicks-off on August 17.
Pochettino will also assess the fitness of Guly do Prado, who bagged a nine minute hat-trick against Palamos last weekend but sat out Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat to Schalke after picking up a knock.
Saints are hoping to find more encouraging signs in today’s game with Turkish side Besiktas.
The defeat against Schalke did bring positives in the first half but showed there is still plenty of work to be done before the season proper kicks-off three weeks today.
Besiktas will again provide a decent test.
They finished third in their domestic league last season and drew 1-1 with Schalke a few days before Saints lost 2-0 to the German club.
Their manager is familiar to English football fans with Slaven Bilic having played in the top flight for West Ham and Everton in his career, as well as having managed Croatia.
Star players include the likes of Olcay Sahan, the club’s top scorer last season, and Portuguese striker Hugo Almedia.
But the majority of the squad are Turkish and many of them are internationals.
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