RALPH Hasenhuttl hints at a first start of the season for Stuart Armstrong against Chelsea on Tuesday, following the Scot’s gradual reintroduction.

The 29-year-old midfielder missed seven games for Saints after he suffered a calf injury early in the campaign but is now getting minutes again.

He has been introduced from the bench in both of the last two, replacing Djenepo after an hour against Leeds and Walcott with just over 15 to play vs Burnley.

Supporters had hoped to see him involved from the start, but after such a lengthy injury that continued to go wrong throughout the healing process, Hasenhuttl has been patient with the player.

But asked for an update on Armstrong by the Daily Echo, the boss hinted that he may get a first start of the 2021-22 season when they travel to Chelsea for the EFL Cup last 16.

“He’s getting better, yes.” Hasenhuttl said. “It’s important that we bring him back at the highest level.

“We need him playing so we will do this, and hopefully Tuesday we will get another chance to show this.”

Chelsea vs Saints kicks off at Stamford Bridge at 7:45PM on Tuesday, 26 October.