FOOTBALLERS often outline the importance of being ready to step back into the team if an opportunity comes their way.

And it looks as though Moussa Djenepo is about to get that chance.

Injuries to Sofiane Boufal and Nathan Redmond will mean that the Mali international is the logical player to feature alongside Stuart Armstrong in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s starting XI.

This will give him a platform to go and show that element of chaos factor he brought to the Saints team during his first few matches.

He netted away to Brighton and then scored an excellent solo effort at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane.

But the former Standard Liege winger hasn’t found the back of the goal since that winner.

And given that the next run of games are all winnable for Saints, it gives Djenepo the best chance to make an impact.

The way he plies his trade on the pitch can have fans on the edge of their seat anticipating what his next move is going to be.

Opposing defenders are also left clueless when the 21-year-old is sprinting towards them with the ball at his feet.

It’s important to understand he’s still young and that coming from Belgium to the Premier League is a tough ask.

But because Djenepo made such a dazzling start to his Saints career, he set a precedent that wasn’t going to be easy to follow on a consistent basis.

Although things haven’t gone the way he’d have liked on the pitch in recent weeks - he hasn’t started a game at St Mary’s since the 1-0 defeat to West Ham back in December – the Mali international has remained an integral part of the Saints dressing room.

All it takes is a quick glimpse at the photos pumped out by the club to see the positive influence he has on those around him.

Djenepo is always smiling and was once described by Redmond as, ‘Nuts – but in a good way’.

And it’s Redmond’s boots that he’s now got to try and fill.

The former Norwich star handed Saints a huge blow when he suffered a muscle injury the day before Hasenhuttl’s side were due to play Burnley.

Redmond looked as if though he was just hitting his stride in a similar way to how he shined for the St Mary’s side in the second half of last season.

So for Hasenhuttl to hear that he could be out for a month, possibly even two, is a real dent to Saints climbing further up the table.

The extent of Boufal’s injury is not yet known but the fact he hobbled off down the tunnel cradling his boot wasn’t a positive sign.

His Christmas period was plagued with a toe injury that didn’t seem to get any better.

He was at home walking through his kitchen when he stubbed his toe, causing him to miss a handful of games.

Boufal and Djenepo are close friends off the pitch, so for the sake of Saints’ medical room, hopefully the 21-year-old pays attention to his surroundings if he pops over to the Moroccan’s dwelling.

Given the fixtures coming up for Saints are against the teams near them in the table, Hasenhuttl can't afford for any other players to pick up an injury.