Ralph Hasenhuttl has been left with a big decision to make ahead of Sunday’s game with Wolves after Fraser Forster made it four clean sheets in four appearances this season with another shut-out in the FA Cup win at Molineux on Thursday night.
The 32-year-old has been second choice behind Alex McCarthy for much of the season but has impressed in all of his FA Cup appearances this season against Arsenal, Shrewsbury and Wolves respectively. He also kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 win against Liverpool in the Premier League, when McCarthy missed out after testing positive for the current viral outbreak.
The former QPR man has recorded seven clean sheets in the Premier League season but has struggled in recent weeks, with his last clean sheet coming in the 0-0 draw with West Ham, before a string of poor performances against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle United.
Hasenhuttl suggested recently that Forster is the ‘number one B’ after his ‘fantastic’ performance in the win against Liverpool, but that remains his only Premier League appearance this season.
If the former Celtic loanee continues to impress in cup competitions, then surely it is only a matter of time before he usurps McCarthy as the number one ‘keeper with the South Coast club, especially after he was impressive again in the 2-0 win against Wolves on Thursday.
This has therefore left Hasenhuttl with a big decision to make ahead of the game against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in the league on Sunday, as form suggests that he should go with Forster, but it may well be a blow to McCarthy’s confidence if he is dropped after some recent disappointing displays.
The 32-year-old shot-stopper earns £70k per week at St Mary’s and his contract is set to expire in the summer of 2022, so if he cannot force his way into Hasenhuttl’s Premier League side more regularly, then perhaps we will see him depart this summer rather than Saints losing him for free at the end of next season, which would be a blow when you consider how solid he has been on his rare appearances this season.