VIRGIL van Dijk will not be involved for Saints this afternoon when they kick off their pre-season programme against St Gallen in Switzerland.

At Saints’ training camp in Austria, the Dutchman has been stepping up his recovery from the foot ligament injury which kept him sidelined from January until the end of last season.

It is understood that Van Dijk is yet to join in full contact training, but has been working back to full fitness under the careful watch of Mauricio Pellegrino and Saints’ medical team.

It means the St Gallen game comes too soon for the 26-year-old captain.

Pellegrino intends to give most players game time against the Swiss Super League outfit, who Saints play at FC Goldach's Sportanlage Kellen ground at 3.30pm BST this afternoon.

The Argentine boss will swap his starting 11 around at half time to enable everyone to get some minutes out on pitch.

Meanwhile, rookie goalkeeper Harry Lewis has joined Dundee United on loan for next season after signing a new three year contract at St Mary’s yesterday.

The 19-year-old made his Saints debut last season at Norwich in the FA Cup third round draw.

He played the replay against the Canaries at St Mary’s, before playing his third game for the club in the 5-0 defeat to Arsenal in the fourth round of the competition.

Head of goalkeeping Dave Watson said: “It was fantastic for Harry last season to get three games in the FA Cup and that experience has put him in the shop window for us to get the opportunity to get him out on loan.

“At his age, he needs to go and get game exposure. It’s a tough challenge to go to Dundee United in the Scottish Championship.

“He’ll be playing men’s football week in, week out and he’s got to earn the right to be in the team. They’re going to be chasing promotion back to the Scottish Premier League.

“It’ll be a challenge but if he can overcome that then it’s a whole different set-up when he comes back.”