BOSS Ralph Hasenhuttl has tonight confirmed Jack Stephens will be out for up to 12 weeks with a tendon problem in his knee.

The centre-back was forced off through injury after 37 minutes during Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Manchester City – and is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Hasenhuttl said: “We have now with Jack Stephens a player who is long out, 10 to 12 weeks maybe. So we need every centre-back.

“A long-term injury is always a blow to us.

“The tendon on the knee is disrupted, so it’s a tendon injury. It takes, I don’t know how long but it will take time.”

Stephens had been first choice for Saints this season, lining up regularly alongside Mohammed Salisu for the south coast outfit.

Saints still have the likes of Salisu, Jan Bednarek and Lyanco as centre-back options, the latter tonight made his debut in the 2-2 Carabao Cup draw with Sheffield United.

Saints eventually won 4-2 on penalties following goals in normal time from Salisu and Ibrahima Diallo.