Newcastle United face one of their longest trips of the season on Saturday afternoon when they travel to St Mary’s Stadium to take on Southampton, and they could be without a defender, according to their official website.
It has been a pretty decent week for the Magpies all things being equal. They picked up a creditable draw against Burnley in the Premier League last weekend, and then saw off Championship side West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup in midweek.
Those results are sure to have given the Newcastle players plenty of confidence, as they strive for the eight more points which would take them to that magical 40 number, which is so often assumed as the total needed for top flight survival.
Magpies fans will be hoping that some of those will come down in Hampshire, and to help them with that quest it would appear as though exciting wide man Alain Saint-Maximin will be fit for the clash with Southampton, which will be a huge boost to Steve Bruce.
Things do not appear quite so positive over defender Javier Manquillo, who has been a key man in recent weeks, with the full-back said to be a doubt for the contest, in what the Newcastle boss described as his only fresh injury issue.
One area of concern for Bruce going into the match with the Saints, will be the fact that his Magpies side have gone more than six hours of Premier League football without finding the back of the net.
He will be hoping that the three goals that Newcastle found at The Hawthorns in midweek will pep up his attacking unit, with Miguel Almiron being responsible for two of them, which should have done his confidence the world of good.
Southampton have a poor record at home, and if the Magpies can exploit that successfully, they could take a huge step towards another season of Premier League football.