Jos Hooiveld is set to step into the shoes of the injured José Fonte at Aston Villa – and will be hoping his Premier League fortunes improve.
The Dutch centre half is the obvious replacement for Fonte, who is sidelined with a knee injury that he sustained in last week’s FA Cup defeat to Chelsea.
Hooiveld was a regular in the Saints side during last year’s Championship promotion campaign, but has been relegated to the role of a bit-part player this term.
He has started six league matches this season, but is yet to taste victory in any of those, with five ending in defeat and one a draw.
Hooiveld played in Saints’ first four games of the campaign – all defeats – as the club were dealt a slew of cruel fixtures on their return to the top flight.
He was forced off in the early stages of the 6-1 defeat to Arsenal in mid-September and lost his place in the side to Maya Yoshida.
The only two games he has started since were the 4-1 loss at West Ham in October and the 3-3 draw at Stoke just after Christmas.
However, the 29-year-old will again have the chance to stake a claim for a place when Saints travel to the Midlands tomorrow for a showdown with relegation rivals Aston Villa.
As reported by the Daily Echo this week, Fonte is due to be sidelined for a number of weeks.
Manager Nigel Adkins confirmed that the Portuguese defender would miss the trip to Villa Park, but refused to comment further on the extent of his injury yesterday.
Adkins also admitted that captain Adam Lallana would be absent again, as he continues to be kept out by the knee injury suffered against Reading on December 8.