Saints striker Emmanuel Mayuka has left the club to link up with the Zambia squad ahead of the African Cup of Nations.

Zambia, like all other nations involved, have until January 9 to name their final squad, although it is a formality that Mayuka, the winner of the golden boot award at the 2012 tournament, will be included in it.

Mayuka, who signed for Saints from Swiss side Young Boys in August, made his first Premier League start in the 1-0 home defeat to Sunderland on December 22, but has not played since, finishing the club’s last four matches as an unused substitute.

So, while the 22-year-old’s absence will have an impact on the depth of Nigel Adkins’ squad for the next few weeks, it is not a debilitating loss. Mayuka is the only player Saints have who is affected by the mid-season tournament.

While the transfer window might be the primary cause of stress for a Premier League manager in January, the African Cup of Nations is also another major source of it.

This year’s tournament, running from January 19 to February 10 in South Africa, will again see a host of English-based players in action, meaning some clubs could be left short-handed for up to a month.

Full story in today's Daily Echo