Nigel Adkins expects to have most of his frontline stars available again for the crunch visit to Aston Villa.

The Saints boss decided to rest eight-goal top scorer Rickie Lambert for the FA Cup tie against Chelsea.

But he was denied the services of club record signing Gaston Ramirez after the Uruguyan playmaker declared himself unfit following a fitness test.

Right back Nathaniel Clyne was also out injured – the third game in a row he has missed – while skipper Adam Lallana is still expected to be missing for a while following the knee injury he suffered almost a month ago.

Saints will also wait on the assessment of the damage to centre half Jose Fonte after he was stretchered off.

“He got a dead leg,” said Adkins of Ramirez.

“I named him in the team but he had a fitness test and he declared himself not fit."

Full story in today's Daily Echo