MAURICIO Pellegrino continues to have the full backing of the Saints hierarchy – despite reports the club want to bring in former Watford boss Marco Silva to replace the under-pressure Argentine.

Silva is available after getting sacked by the Hornets on Sunday and, while Saints have been interested in the Portuguese in the past, it is understood there are no plans to make an approach at this stage.

Saints are winless in 11 Premier League games, two points off the bottom of the table and, with eight managers already axed this season in the notoriously impatient top-flight, Pellegrino is tipped to be the next to go.

The bookies currently have the 46-year-old as the favourite to become the ninth boss to be chopped this campaign.

However, after a promising performance in the 1-1 draw against Tottenham on Sunday at St Mary’s, as well as the 2-2 draw at Watford, there is no appetite to axe Pellegrino right now.

Saints chairman Ralph Krueger only gave Pellegrino his backing at the beginning of this month and there has been optimism over recent displays.

The atmosphere among the players is thought to be good and the team are behind Pellegrino and have shown they are ready to fight for the 46-year-old.

And this month, the club’s brass are preparing to back Pellegrino in the transfer market as they bid to escape the Premier League drop zone.

Quincy Promes, the Spartak Moscow attacker, is now the club’s top target after missing out on Theo Walcott, who joined Everton for £20m last week.

A club-record £30m deal is said to be on the cards for the Netherlands international, as is a swoop for Monaco striker Guido Carrillo, who could arrive in a transfer worth around £20m.

Pellegrino hopes the club wrap up those two deals up before the end of this week as Saints enter a HUGE period in their fight for survival in the Premier League.

After welcoming Watford to St Mary’s on Saturday in the fourth round of the FA Cup, Saints take on six of their relegation rivals in the next eight games.

With just six points separating 10th from bottom, these next few weeks will certainly be a defining period.

It all starts against 16th placed Brighton a week today at St Mary’s, before a trip to West Bromwich Albion (19th) on Saturday.

Following games against Liverpool and Burnley, Pellegrino’s men face Stoke (17th), Newcastle (15th), Swansea (20th) and West Ham (11th). This run of games in March will ultimately decide if Saints beat the drop or not.

It would have been scarcely surprising to see Saints axe Pellegrino, just as many of their rivals have this season.

With Silva highly thought of and previously in demand, there is suddenly a ready-made option there for the St Mary’s hot seat, if the next immediate run of games goes badly for Pellegrino.

The 40-year-old manager was dismissed by the Hornets on Sunday after one win in 11 matches and has since been replaced by Spaniard Javi Gracia.