Nigel Adkins is optimistic that star striker Rickie Lambert will be back in the Saints side to face Portsmouth next weekend.

Lambert was missing from the Saints team that were defeated 3-0 by Blackpool at Bloomfield Road after aggravating his groin injury in training on Thursday.

Rumours quickly spread that Lambert had had an operation and would miss the remainder of the season but Adkins killed those off.

“Let’s put that to bed straightaway,” he said. “Somebody made me aware people were saying Rickie has had an operation but Rickie has not had an operation.

“Rumours abound everywhere, he didn’t play today but we were optimistic of him playing but he broke down a little bit in training on Thursday, sufficiently so that he wasn’t fit enough for the game.

“We’re very optimistic he will be fit for the weekend.”

Speaking of the game Adkins added: “You change the shape and I often find that everyone talks about shapes and tactics and whatever but it’s the basics you need to make sure you get right.

“Consistently over the course of the season we have done it very very well and maybe in the first half we didn’t do it as well as we shouldn’t have.”