SAINTS will not prevent Joe Aribo from playing at next month's Africa Cup of Nations if selected, Russell Martin has revealed. 

Aribo is a regular fixture for Nigeria and has been named in Jose Peseiro's provisional squad for the tournament, which gets underway on January 13.

The 23-time international has started the last five games and scored his first goal of the campaign in Southampton's 5-0 thrashing of Swansea City on Boxing Day.

READ MORE: 'Very good song' - Aribo surprised to hear his goal music

If selected, Aribo could miss up to five games. Asked by the Daily Echo about Aribo potentially heading to the tournament, Martin said: "Joe is incredibly proud to play for Nigeria.

"We can't stop anyone (from playing at AFCON). You want them to go there fit and come back fit.

Daily Echo: Southampton's Joe Aribo during the Championship match between Southampton and Swansea City at St Mary's Stadium. Photo by Stuart Martin.

"Joe needs to keep playing how he has been playing and I'm sure he will get into their squad.

"He has been a mainstay in their squad for quite a while. They go with everyone's best wishes - you want them to do well.

"Hopefully they stay injury-free, that's the biggest thing. Joe has got incredible pride (for Nigeria).

"Every time he goes away a different member of staff asks him to bring one of his shirts back.

"I've asked him for his AFCON shirt for my son so he needs to get into the squad so he can bring a shirt back for him," Martin joked.

Nigeria have been drawn in Group A alongside Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and tournament hosts Ivory Coast.

The Super Eagles are among the favourites to win the tournament, in large part due to their long list of formidable forwards - including Napoli's Victor Osimhen.

Also selected in their provisional squad list are former Saints winger Nathan Tella and loaned-out forward Paul Onuachu.