CLAUDE Puel is confident that Saints can cope without suspended key man Oriol Romeu for the next two games.
The 25-year-old defensive midfielder has been invaluable for Saints this term, missing only one Premier League game all season - which was also due to a ban.
But, after picking up his tenth domestic booking of the season, the Spaniard will be suspended for the trip to West Bromwich Albion tomorrow and the following game at Manchester City next Saturday.
Puel will now look to either Jordy Clasie or Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to come in to replace Romeu, who will be available again for the trip to his former club Chelsea on Tuesday, April 25.
"We know Oriol is a fantastic player and a fantastic man also," said Puel. "He gives his all in every training session and in every game.
"He’s a strong, technical player with good character and he’s very important for us.
"He wasn’t a starting player for us last season and it is fantastic to see his level this season. In my opinion he is an international player.
"It’s not good news [that he's suspended] but I’m confident in the other players ... in Clasie and Hojbjerg.
"They haven't played a lot of games recently but they kept a very good spirit and attitude in training and I am happy they can participate. I have all my confidence in them."
Elsewhere, Manolo Gabbiadini remains a doubt for the trip to The Hawthorns, with Puel due to talk to the Saints medical team regarding his groin injury, which as has kept the in-form striker out the last two games.
Because of the availability problems, Puel plans to rotate his team through necessity rather than choice at the Baggies.
"We have one day less of recovery [than West Brom] and we have some problems with different players with injuries," he said.
"I don’t know what players can be available for this game and so some change and rotation is normal."
The St Mary's chief has urged Saints to keep their "intensity" after building some momentum with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace last time out.
He said: "Is it the best moment of the season? I don’t know because we have played some different good games against strong teams.
"With a match every two weeks, it was difficult to keep a good intensity and rhythm.
"We saw this against AFC Bournemouth but against Crystal Palace, we showed good quality and a good spirit but the intensity of our play was good.
"It’s important to keep this but it’s difficult to see the future. Every game is very difficult, with great opponents and physical play.
"We will see this against West Brom because it’s a strong team with good organisation, discipline and structure.
"It’s always difficult to play against this side and we know this from the first game we played against them."