Southampton boss Claude Puel has revealed that Charlie Austin has returned to light training but the game against Tottenham on Sunday (19 March) is likely to come too soon for the forward.
Austin suffered a dislocated shoulder in December and has been out of action ever since. His presence as the spearhead of Southampton's attack was sorely missed until Manolo Gabbiadini arrived in January, and Puel expressed his happiness at seeing the former Queen Park Rangers hitman back training with his teammates.
The Southampton manager also revealed that defender Jeremy Pied is set to play for the club's Under-23s, but Virgil van Dijk, Matt Targett and Alex McCarthy remain sidelined for the clash against Tottenham.
"The long-term injuries are still out like Virgil, Matt Targett and Alex McCarthy. He's not available for the moment but Jeremy Pied will come back with the Under-23s which is a good thing," Puel said in his press conference.
"For Charlie, he did light training with us this morning without any opponents and it was great to see him. We will see when he can come back with the group, with intensity and opposition."
Puel also said that new signing Martin Caceres is available for the clash against Tottenham after building his fitness with Southampton's youth squad. The Uruguayan centre-back is finally over his 15-month injury nightmare and Puel believes he is ready to provide competition for current defensive pairing Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida.
"It was also important to see Martin Caceres for his two first games for around 15 months so it's a long time," the Southampton boss added. "It was important for him and now he's available for the team and he will provide competition for Yoshida and Stephens.
"It's a good thing for the next month because we have to play every three days and it's good to have of solutions."
Southampton have managed to pick a couple of positive results in recent weeks but they will do very well to emerge victorious at White Hart Lane. Tottenham are unbeaten at home in the Premier League this season, but the Saints were the last team to beat Mauricio Pochettino's men in the league back in April last year.
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