Saints’ beleaguered defence will receive a much-needed boost for tomorrow’s trip to West Ham, with Nathaniel Clyne likely to come back into the starting line-up.

The right-back, right, missed the club’s last game, a 2-2 draw with Fulham prior to the international break, after suffering a dead leg in the 3-1 defeat at Everton a week previously.

Saints have conceded 20 goals already this season in just seven Premier League games – easily the worst in the top flight – but Clyne has arguably been the brightest spot in defence.

The 21-year-old returned to training this week and the club are hopeful he will play at Upton Park tomorrow, as they bid to earn a first clean sheet of the league campaign.

His return would certainly be a timely one, as Saints must contend with the threat of West Ham’s record signing, £10m winger Matt Jarvis.

The former Wolves man operates mainly down the left-hand side and is likely to be the main source of supply for on-loan Liverpool and England striker Andy Carroll.

Saints manager Nigel Adkins had taken to using Clyne at left-back in recent matches, in place of Danny Fox, who has struggled this season.

But with the danger of Jarvis, and the absence of fellow right-backs Frazer Richardson and Danny Butterfield through injury, it would seem likely for Clyne to start in his natural position.

Maya Yoshida played most of the game against Fulham in that role, after Richardson was forced off with a thigh problem in the early stages.

However, the Japan international struggled there, and is expected to revert back to centre-half alongside Jose Fonte, with Jos Hooiveld on the bench.

Should Clyne slot back in on the right-hand-side, Fox is likely to continue on the left.

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