Ralph Hasenhuttl has suffered an injury blow to his squad at Southampton, with Jan Bednarek set to miss Saturday’s game against Fulham, but there is a silver lining as it could see Mohammed Salisu handed a rare start.
The Poland international was substituted at half-time in the 3-1 win against Crystal Palace in midweek and Hasenhuttl has since confirmed that the 25-year-old is a doubt for the weekend, saying: “Jan Bednarek has a little bit of a problem with his ankle.
“In the last game he got a hit on his heel I think and didn’t train today (Thursday) or yesterday (Wednesday).”
It will likely bring an end to the centre-back’s run in Southampton’s side which has seen him start all 35 of their Premier League fixtures so far this season.
Although he has been an important member of Southampton’s squad this season, and showed great form earlier in the campaign when he and Jannik Vestergaard established a formidable defensive partnership, his recent displays have been poor and his injury could be a blessing in disguise for the Saints.
Hasenhuttl will want to finish the season strongly whilst also utilising some of Southampton’s younger players, so Saturday’s game against already-relegated Fulham side could be the perfect opportunity to start Salisu at centre-back.
The Ghanaian, who joined from Real Valladolid last summer, has been limited to just five Premier League starts this season, although his recent performances have emphasised why Southampton were so keen to bring him in.
He was superb in their 1-1 draw with Leicester City when the Saints were down to 10 men, posting a formidable 11 clearances, and was solid again when replacing Bednarek in the win against Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.
Therefore, Salisu deserves a start against Scott Parker’s side this weekend; and if he can enjoy a strong finish to the season, then it would be an obvious silver lining to the bad news that the “excellent” Bednarek – as hailed by Matt Le Tissier – is sidelined.