Sam Gallagher this evening returns to the Saints squad for the first time since the death of his father – with Mauricio Pochettino backing the young striker to start enjoying his football again.
It has been rollercoaster few weeks for 18-year-old Gallagher, who had the dramatic high of scoring a first ever professional goal in the FA Cup tie with Yeovil and a first Premier League start against Arsenal followed by terrible news of the passing of his father, Richard, following a short illness.
Gallagher was given time off to be with his family but returned to Staplewood yesterday and has travelled to Hull for tonight’s game.
Pochettino insists that the rest of the squad will look after him.
“He will travel with the team and it’s a very important period for him where he needs to feel the full support of the squad and everyone involved in the club.
He needs to feel that support and kindness,” said Pochettino.
“It’s clear he’s not match fit because he hasn’t been training for the last ten days because he’s been spending much needed time with his family in this really tough moment.
“It’s important he travels with the team, that he trains with the team and that he’s within the dynamic of the group so that he has the full support of the team and that he’s able to share that pain with all the people that love him and want to be around him.
“It’s clear that when someone very close to your family or someone in your family passes that pain cannot be forgotten about and is always going to be there for the rest of your life but it’s important for him in this tough moment to be with the group and feel the full support of the group and the full kindness of the group.
“Through time and having that support around him he will be able to enjoy football again as a young man such as him should.”
Tonight’s trip to Hull is the start of a taxing few days for Saints following their 2-2 draw with Stoke at St Mary’s.
Pochettino says he is a fan of the style of Steve Bruce’s side and is expecting a tough ride to extend Saints’ seven game unbeaten run.
“We have been on a very good run, been having very good performances and getting very good results and we just need to carry on in the same manner,” he said. “Our focus is to play the same way at Hull.
“It’s clear that one always prefers to play at home where you have the full support of the fans but the calendar in this country sometimes makes you play two or three times in a row away from home. “It’s clear that the team has shown the right consistency, attitude and mentality at home or away and we want to carry on in the same way.
“Hull have made very good reinforcements during the transfer window and have invested quite a bit of money in new signings.
“I think Hull is a very aggressive side, a very tough side to play against and frankly a side who I like how they play.
“We have full respect for Hull and for sure it is going to be a very tough game against them.”