Southampton manager Mark Hughes confirmed in his pre-match press conference for the huge clash against Watford at St Mary’s on Saturday that defender Wesley Hoedt is a doubt, and it could have big repercussions on the starting XI that line up against the Hornets.
Well, the Welsh boss reported on Thursday that the Dutchman could miss Saturday’s game because of a foot infection he is suffering from, which caused him miss training on the day of the press conference.
What sounds like a painful injury could keep him on the sidelines against Javi Gracia’s men, although it doesn’t appear to be a serious enough issue for him to still be absent when they visit Fulham in their next Premier League fixture after the international break.
While the 24-year-old has been a regular in the Saints backline ever since Hughes took charge back in March, he is still considered to be dodgy by many of the St Mary’s faithful – certainly not helped by his often wayward passing and the fact that he scored own goals against Liverpool and Manchester City respectively this term.
Summer signing Jannik Vestergaard, Maya Yoshida and Jan Bednarek will be in contention to replace the Dutchman alongside Jack Stephens at the heart of the defence should he miss out, and while the former should be the favourite he certainly hasn’t been preferred by his manager in recent weeks.
Hughes has shown that he isn’t afraid to look at players that know the Premier League well having switched Vestergaard – who is frustrated at his lack of minutes – for Stephens already, and he could opt for the experience of Yoshida in what is reported to be a must-win game for him.
The absence of Hoedt could also be good news for Ryan Bertrand, who may feel that he can be at his attacking best without the vulnerable Netherlands international beside him, and his increased freedom to get forward could give the team the much-needed boost they need in the final third.