RALPH Hasenhuttl has confirmed that he has just two Saints players, Alex McCarthy and Nathan Tella, absent for the visit of Coventry City in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.

The positive update means that Tino Livramento has made a long-awaited return to training with the first-team, following his meniscus injury in his knee towards the end of 2021.

It also rules Will Smallbone, who has been suffering with a calf injury, back in contention for the St Mary’s clash. Whether they make an immediate return to the playing squad with a busy schedule coming up remains to be seen.

However, the Austrian boss also revealed that Alex McCarthy has had a recovery setback following a hamstring injury sustained in his last appearance – the 1-1 draw with Brighton in December.

Speaking ahead of the Coventry match, Hasenhuttl said: “We have in the moment two injured players.

“Alex McCarthy who is a little long out, a bit of a setback in his recovery, and Nathan Tella who is also still out.

“Will Smallbone is back in sessions, Tino Livramento also and that’s it so far.”

Elaborating on McCarthy’s concern, he added: “We don’t know 100 per cent at the moment (how bad it is), it takes a few more weeks and then we will know more.”

McCarthy had started each of the first 15 Premier League matches of the season but the goal has been tended to by Willy Caballero and then Fraser Forster since.

The 32-year-old former England international was spotted in Saints first-team training in the middle of January but it has all gone quiet since.

This update is the first Hasenhuttl has given and ruled McCarthy out for the next few weeks at least, with both his and Forster’s contracts set to expire in the summer.