RALPH Hasenhuttl admitted Romain Perraud’s “groin problems were bigger than we thought” but hopes the Frenchman can return to training next week.
Perraud, 24, missed out on the matchday squad when Saints drew 2-2 with Leeds United last Saturday, having earlier returned from a fracture injury picked up in May.
The defender’s continued absence through a separate issue, despite making a substitute appearance at Tottenham Hotspur two weeks ago, has forced Hasenhuttl to stick with his formational change.
Moussa Djenepo is the only player in the Austrian’s squad who can reasonably operate on the left of his defence, with the Malian playing as a left-wing-back in both opening fixtures.
Perraud is on the right side of his recovery again, but is not expected to return in time for either of the club’s next two fixtures.
Asked for an update on his fitness, Hasenhuttl told the Daily Echo: “The groin problems were bigger than we thought. It’s not the injury he had in the summer, it’s a muscle injury.
“It’s always a little tricky when you don’t have pre-season and you start and immediately step in.
“Everything was going quite well but the fundamental, the basic was not there or is not there and then you can see sometimes other problems come up.”
He continued: “The timeline is beginning of next week he should be back in training.
“This weekend is too early but hopefully starting next week he is back. That doesn’t mean he can play in the (Carabao) Cup but we will see.”
A message from the Editor
Thank you for reading this article - we appreciate your support in reading the Daily Echo.
Subscribing to the Echo means you have unrestricted access to the latest news, features and Saints coverage - all with an advertising-light website.
You will also have full access to Saintsplus, your new home for Southampton FC tactical analysis, features and much, much more.
Don't just take my word for it - subscribe today.
Follow the latest breaking news in the Southampton area by searching Southampton News - Breaking News and Incidents on Facebook
Follow the latest court and crime news on our dedicated group by searching Hampshire Court and Crime News on Facebook