JAKE Vokins will feel "like a new signing" after returning from his "freak" injury, says Ross County boss Malky Mackay.

The Saints left-back joined the Scottish Premiership outfit on a season-long loan deal in July.

However, after making two appearances in the Scottish League Cup, disaster struck for the 21-year-old as a broken metatarsal on the eve of the league campaign has scuppered his chances of further minutes north of the border.

Vokins, who came through Saints' academy and has gone on to play five times for the first team, returned to the south coast for treatment, but has now headed back to Scotland to battle for his spot in the Ross County side.

Discussing Vokins, Mackay told the Press and Journal: “He’s a couple of weeks away from being fully involved in the group.

“He’s been scanned to check that what was going on inside has knitted properly.

“Southampton okayed him coming back here and he’s started partial training this week. He’ll dip into the warm-ups with fitness work topping that up on his own.

“Then, next week, he’ll come into contact work.

“It was such a disappointment because he came in and started really well in the first few weeks.

“It was the most freak thing you’ll ever see in your life what actually happened

“He was asked to pass a ball back to people 10 or 15 yards away and he caught his stud on the ground.

“To be out so long with that is tough, so it is good to have him back. He’s like a new signing.”

He added: “He’s young, finding his way and isn’t ready-made in terms of being a Premier League footballer. But he is a young reserve player with Southampton who wants to make a career.

“He’s a great lad and has a lovely left foot, but there’s competition for places now."