Jay Rodriguez is facing a race against time to keep his Premier League appearance record going – and Maya Yoshida’s Saints season is almost certainly over.
Rodriguez, the club’s in-form 15-goal top scorer, has featured in all 31 of Saints’ top flight games this season, but is a doubt for the visit of Newcastle to St Mary’s tomorrow.
He is one of a number of players either ruled out already or touch and go to be fit as Saints battle a mini-injury crisis ahead of the match against Alan Pardew’s Magpies.
Boss Mauricio Pochettino explained: “Kelvin Davis (hip) is definitely out, Nathaniel Clyne (groin) is definitely out. Maya Yoshida (knee) is definitely out.
“Maya had a problem in the week with his knee ligament and he will be out for six weeks, so pretty much the rest of the season.
“We have the doubts over Morgan Schneiderlin (hip), Victor Wanyama (leg) and Jay Rodriguez (knee) who had to come off in the second half (at Tottenham last Sunday).
“We need to assess the evolution of Steven Davis (groin).
“It’s a long list.”
The greatest concern was arguably for Yoshida, with the centre half due to represent Japan in this summer’s World Cup.
“It is true he will be out for six or seven weeks but his participation in the World Cup will not be threatened,” assured Pochettino.
“It will be difficult for him to play in the last six weeks of this season.”
He added: “I actually went through a similar situation in a World Cup and I had a similar injury to his, but I recovered a month before and was able to take part (in the World Cup).
“He has started working already this week so he shouldn’t miss any training sessions. The staff and all of us are going to help him so that he’s back to his best as soon as possible.”
Tomorrow’s game at St Mary’s also sees a return to action for referee Andre Marriner following the mistaken identity red card debacle of his officiating of the game between Arsenal and Chelsea last weekend.
Marriner incorrectly sent off Kieran Gibbs rather than ex-Saint Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but Pochettino was supportive to officials in general.
“It’s the same thing in the game against Tottenham. There were some individual mistakes we made and the priority is not to punish the players that made the mistakes,” said Pochettino.
“It’s a similar comparison “We have full trust in the referees and we know that it’s a very difficult job to do and to do well.
“I’m not really one to analyse the referee’s performance before the game.”
He continued: “Just today we had a visit with a Premier League referee. We had a meeting and lunch and he showed us some clips. It made us see how difficult their job is.
“You have many different angles from which different actions are happening so that’s very hard to gauge. “It goes to show how difficult their job is, even if I complain about referees and how they treat us.
“Overall, it’s a very tough job that they have to do.”