Ronald Koeman says he cannot put a timeframe on Jay Rodriguez’s return to action with the striker still sidelined with foot pain.

Rodriguez, who had been finding his way back to fitness after more than a year out with a serious knee injury, was due to resume training at the start of this week.

However, that has not proved possible, and Koeman admits he isn’t sure when the £7m man will come back.

“I don’t know. We have to wait,” said the Saints boss.

“I have a good hope that he was starting this week from yesterday on to come back in the team but still it’s too painful his feet and that stops a little bit what I was expecting.

“It’s always difficult for the player because he had a long time out and come back after the injury, the knee was ok and something else makes it difficult.

“Be patient and keep positive is the most important at the moment.”

Shane Long is also still out injured for tomorrow’s Capital One Cup fourth round tie with Aston Villa while Sadio Mane is suspended.

“It’s always for the confidence better that you win the game and you know that it’s no different in my opinion,” said Koeman.

“We like to go on in this tournament because we like to win something.

“We know in three competitions - the Premier League, the FA Cup starts in January and the Capital One Cup.

“We take it seriously and the team we start tomorrow will be a strong team.”