Saints first team coach Eric Black has resigned.

Black has been suffering the effects of injuries he sustained during his playing career, and has decided to take time out to try and get back to fitness.

Saints are mulling over their options in terms of whether to appoint a replacement, but are in no rush to do so.

Manager Mauricio Pellegrino brought two staff in with him, and with Dave Watson also at the club, as well as Alex Gross and a multitude of other coaches if required, there is certainly no need to rush an appointment.

Saints issued a statement on Black which read: “Southampton Football Club can today confirm that Eric Black has resigned from his position as Senior First Team Coach for personal reasons.

“Eric has been suffering the effects of previous back injuries sustained during his playing career, and has decided to address these issues now. Given this could mean a spell out of action, Eric feels the time is right to take a break from the game.

Les Reed, Vice Chairman (Football) said: “Eric Black is a fine coach and a true professional who is popular with the players and staff and always gave 100 per cent to his job. Fortunately, his situation is not serious and we hope he will be back in a tracksuit at some point in the future.

"Everyone at Southampton wishes him a speedy recovery. I would also personally like to thank him for his diligent work during his time with the club.”

Black, a former Scottish international footballer, had to end his playing days early due to a chronic back problem before moving into management and coaching.

He has had spells at Motherwell, Coventry, Birmingham, Sunderland, Blackburn, Rotherham and Aston Villa, as well as with Saints and recently helped out the Scotland national team.

Black is highly thought of at St Mary’s, and stayed on at the club after Claude Puel’s departure due to his popularity amongst the players who were keen for him to remain.

The 54-year-old is understood to have been commuting from his home in the Midlands, which could not have helped his back issues, and feels the time is right to take steps to try and protect his long-term health.