SAINTS boss Russell Martin is hopeful that Che Adams will return for the second leg of their playoff semi-final against West Brom.

The 27 year old did not travel to the Midlands on Sunday despite hopes he would be fit as a tight calf continued to plague his match fitness.

Sekou Mara came in for the injured Adams - the Frenchman also returning having missed last Saturday's trip to Leeds.

Asked how likely Adams will be fit for Friday's second leg, Martin explained: "I think there was hope he would be ready for this one but the risk outweighs the reward. 

"It was quite soon after the game (at Leeds). He's been working. He's been doing everything he possibly can.

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"We'll get him on the training pitch in the next couple of days and then see how he reacts and adapts to that because he's important."

Southampton clearly missed Adams' threat up front as Adam Armstrong and Mara struggled to impose themselves.

Daily Echo: Che Adams scored five goals in eight games last monthChe Adams scored five goals in eight games last month (Image: Stuart Martin)

The Scotland international scored five times last month, seeing him nominated for April's Championship player of the month award.

Ross Stewart impressed off the bench, almost scoring from his first Southampton shot, but Martin was happy to admit they missed Adams.

"We missed Che a lot. That’s not a disrespect to any of our other players. I think he's probably been one of our best players for the last four or five weeks.

“He has been playing the best football I've seen him play since we've been here.  He has played with energy.

"He has had freedom with the way he takes the ball and gets the team up the pitch. He is a real goal threat and a physical presence. I think any team is going to miss him.

"Sekou did fine today and then Ross did really well when he came on. He looked such a threat. Hopefully, we'll have Che back for Friday all being well.”