Mark Hughes has warned Saints will need to be wary of the threat posed by veteran Brighton striker Glenn Murray.

The 34-year-old has started the season in fine form with three goals already for the Seagulls, who visit St Mary’s on Monday night.

Murray’s physical presence has caused problems for many defences and combined with a greater understanding of his own game as he has matured he is a force to be reckoned with.

Hughes recognises some of the traits Murray possesses from his own career, and also the growing knowledge of how best to use them.

He said: “The older you get the better the understanding of the game you get. The only thing that diminishes is your physical capacity.

“I’m a lot better player now than I ever was. I just can’t run.

“As you get older you get a little bit wiser in terms of understanding your physical capabilities and it looks like Glenn Murray is one of the players who understands his game better now and how he can use his remaining physical attributes to the best of his ability and he’s very clever in what he does.

“He's one of the few type of his ilk. When I was playing there was a lot of strikers who used their bodies and their physical strengths with their back to goal and manipulate defenders to create space. He’s one of very few. They used to be ten a penny, but they don’t seem to be as prevalent as they used to be.”

Despite the greater understanding of his game, Hughes joked that he was reluctant to join in training at Saints for fear of what might happen.

“You are at risk of pulling thigh muscles and hamstrings these days so I try to keep it at a minimum,” he smiled.

“I certainly don’t join in. That would be a disaster.

“I know what I should be doing but I can’t do it any more unfortunately. They are very lucky these guys that they can still play.”

Saints have notched one win over Brighton already this season after defeating them at the Amex in the Carabao Cup.

However, both teams were much changed and the Premier League meeting on Monday is sure to be a very different affair.

“They’ve got a lot of guys that have grasped the opportunity to play in the Premier League and are enjoying the day in and day out challenge the Premier League brings,” reflected Hughes.

“Along with that they’ve still got a guy up top who is a little bit older than some of the rest in the group and still has an impact for them.

“You have to be respectful of the talent they have.”