MAURICIO Pellegrino has backed reserve right-back Jeremy Pied to shine at neighbours AFC Bournemouth tomorrow in Cedric Soares’ absence.

With Cedric out against the Cherries with a hamstring injury he picked up late on the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City, Pied will be drafted in to replace him for the lunchtime kick-off at the Vitality Stadium.

The Frenchman has not played in the Premier League this term, with his only appearance coming in the 2-0 defeat at St Mary’s to Championship side Wolves in the League Cup.

But, while Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida can also play at right-back, Pied, who likes to get forward, is the most like-for-like replacement to Cedric.

Pellegrino said: “Jeremy Pied will play.

“I feel most of my players are ready to play right now. Jeremy has played with the reserves and has trained well, he’s one of the examples in the squad in the way that he trains every single day without being on the list for most of the games.

“It’s really difficult to keep the motivation, and he will have the opportunity to show how he’s competing now.

“When you play one game in 15 it’s not easy, but the team will try to support him to try to play well.”

Pellegrino has taken time to speak to the 28-year-old, who signed for Saints on a free in August 2016.

“I told him that he will play, because I feel he’s ready to do it, prepared to do it, well prepared to do it,” he said.

Shane Long is also a doubt for the match with a calf problem, which Saints will run tests on today.

“Tomorrow (Saturday) we will review; we will decide how he is,” Pellegrino said about Long.

“The doctor will check. Today (Friday), he couldn’t train. It’s a little bit sore in the calf and tomorrow we will decide.”

The Republic of Ireland international started at City, but, even if he is fit, it will be likely Charlie Austin will get the nod upfront against the Cherries, having netted a brace against Everton last Sunday.

Long was favoured at City to give Austin a rest and also because of his work-rate and ability to stretch the game on the counter-attack, something that favoured Saints’ approach at the Etihad Stadium.

“Charlie has got the possibility to be in the team. He can play a good game and I imagine that it will be different than against City,” he said.

“Not just Charlie but everyone needs to be focused and motivated to win this game.”