Saints are open to the possibility of loaning out a few players before the end of the month but Mark Hughes is keen to hang on to Sam Gallagher.

Though the Premier League transfer window is shut, Saints can still loan out players to Football League clubs and teams from abroad.

There could be a few of the younger players that potentially make a move to get game time, but Gallagher, who spent all of last season at Birmingham, isn’t likely to be among them.

Hughes said: “Sam is very much in our 25.

“We get a lot of interest in Sam I have to say. It’s understandable if I’m honest having worked with him for the first time.

“He has a lot of attributes. He is a strong young man, a lot of talent, a lot of pace and you can see why clubs would like to take him on board and work with him this season.

“He’s not one we are encouraging any clubs to come for.

“There will be some guys who go out on loan because it best suits them but I sense Sam has come back with a view that he wants to try and push and get in the team and I am all for that.

“I think that’s a good thing because he’s been out on loan and had good experiences but he’s come back with a view he wants to force himself into the first team and why not? That’s what you want from young players.”

Hughes says that Saints have let it be known that they have no intention of doing business before the end of the month unless the deal is right.

“We have discussed that,” he insisted. “We have made a point of informing everybody that unless we feel we want to do business from our point of view the door is closed on clubs coming for our players.

“We could look at loan opportunities for our players to move to get game time but it won’t be a case of trying to get players out of the door.

“The group I have got with maybe a couple going out on loan is what I will have at least until January and that’s the message we are giving out.”

The biggest focus will be on the future of Fraser Forster.

He is now the third choice keeper at the club and clearly needs to get out and play games.

There have been approaches but as yet nothing that has taken Forster’s fancy, but Hughes admitted a move abroad could provide the answer if the right team comes in for him.

“There have been clubs in, some that Fraser didn’t feel were right for him, and that’s his prerogative,” he reported.

“I think if a good option comes for him then Fraser will look seriously at them.

“His situation is not what he wants because he wants to play and I have told him he needs to play.

“If there’s an interesting option abroad, I think he has intimidated he wouldn’t be adverse to that, but if he doesn’t go out I’m quite happy because I’ve got three outstanding goalkeepers.”