Mauricio Pellegrino says he will decide tomorrow whether Virgil van Dijk is ready to start his first game since January.

The Dutch defender was a late sub at Crystal Palace last weekend and put in another appearance for the under-23s on Monday having been out since the start of the year through a combination of injury and his transfer request.

It would be a big call to throw van Dijk back in to mark Romelu Lukaku as Manchester United visit St Mary’s on Saturday, and though Pellegrino hinted at caution he admitted he hadn’t completely made up his mind yet.

He said: “We will decide tomorrow, but every single week Virgil is important because he is getting better.

“After a long period of time without playing a game now he is training well, and it’s good news for us because we need Virgil like every single player in our squad.

“Virgil is an important player for us.

“I think every single week he will improve, but at the same time he needs to play, he needs to train.

“The best training session for me is to play games. Now he is playing in the reserves and 15 minutes is something and he is training well.”

Matt Targett is the only injury doubt for the United game after picking up a minor ankle knock.