George Burley says West Brom hold the key to any permanent Saints move for Richard Chaplow after the midfielder had his loan spell brought to a premature end through injury.

The 21-year-old saw a specialist in Birmingham over a knee injury and was told he needs surgery to repair the cartilage damage.

He will undergo the operation at the start of next week and as a result has returned to West Brom to be in their medical care as he is unable to play the final two games of his loan spell at Saints.

Burley, right, believes Chaplow has benefited from his ten games at St Mary's, in which he scored one goal, and didn't rule out a possible summer move for him.

He said: "That would be a matter for West Brom but he is a smashing lad who has been outstanding for us. He has shown over the last two or three months that he is a quality player. I liked him when he was at Burnley which is why I was keen to get him on loan.

"He is full of energy and endeavour and has got all the attributes. He can go all the way.

"I definitely see him as a Premiership player and his experience here will stand him in good stead for next season."

Also out through injury is Darren Powell who has damaged his posterior knee ligament. The big centre half doesn't require surgery but needs rest and will not be fit to resume training until pre-season.

Djamel Blemadi will miss tomorrow's game with Crystal Palace with an achilles injury but Darren Kenton and Dexter Blackstock are back in the squad.

Burley is urging his players to keep the intensity up at Selhurst Park after four wins in a row lifted them into the top half of the table.

He said: "We're going the right direction but we still have an awful long way to go.

"If we're going to push into the top six next season we've got to keep improving. We're not thinking that winning the last four games means everything's rosy.

"Palace, like Southampton, got relegated and they're in the play-offs. Maybe they have a similar squad to when they were in the Premiership and they have some very good players and an opportunity to get straight back up.

"In our position we go into each game thinking we can win it and that's what we're trying to do tomorrow."