RALPH Hasenhuttl is banking on Moussa Djenepo staying fit to help steer Saints to safety.

The winger, who signed for £14m in the summer, missed a handful of games with a hip injury but made his return against Man City last weekend.

In the short amount of time he was on the pitch at the Etihad, he made an impact down the wing with his pace and trickery.

Hasenhuttl said: “Moussa is a big option for the weekend. He is the only guy, apart from Prowsey against Man City who scored 1-0 for us in these games.

“I am not putting pressure on this guy, but it is not only the fans who are happy to see him back. I am happy too!

“We saw against Manchester City when he came on as a sub, he immediately made two or three actions with the ball and is hard to catch.

“He gives our game an unpredictability and we missed it.”

Comparisons have been made between former Saints star Sadio Mane and Djenepo.

Mane has turned into one of the best players in Europe since his big-money move to Liverpool in 2016.

Even though Hasenhuttl hopes Djenepo can go on a similar trajectory to the Champions League winner but said it’s not fair to compare the two yet.

“I know Sadio was here and made fantastic development and I hope Moussa does the same,” added the Saints boss.

“He has good talent and shows the fundamental things from a good offensive player. He is fantastic in one against one and is hard to catch.

“If he is that quick, I do not know. Sadio is very quick.

“In the end it is not about comparing him to Sadio, it is about him helping our team. He’s not only a good footballer but a fantastic character.”

As well as making an impact on the pitch, Djenepo has become a key figure within the dressing room.

Hasenhuttl and the players often talk about the positivity he brings to training, even when he was recovering from injury.

And the Saints boss pointed to this fact in the build-up to this afternoon’s game against Everton.

Hasenhuttl added: “From the moment he was back in the team he was laughing, and this gives you a lift. The players enjoy playing with him.

“I hope he will stay fit. This is the most important thing and why we waited so long, to give him the time to recover perfectly.

“It seems at the moment that he stays fit and if he does, he can help us.”