Mark Hughes is confident his Southampton squad can cope without loan man Danny Ings as he is ineligible to face parent club Liverpool. Ings has scored twice in his last two appearances, but he is unable to face the Premier League leaders on Saturday at Anfield under the terms of his season-long loan deal.
Hughes revealed Manolo Gabbiadini is a doubt with a hamstring problem, but he feels others can step up to the challenge if the Italian frontman is also ruled out of the trip to Merseyside.
“You don’t want to lose any of the options you have got in an attacking sense, but if he (Gabbiadini) does miss out, we can prepare without those two and still be strong enough,” Hughes said.
Ings has impressed since switching to St Mary’s, with the 26-year-old looking for more regular first-team opportunities.Hughes feels there is plenty more to come from the former Burnley forward.
“I always had a good impression of him as a player, with a high regard for his abilities,” the Saints boss said.
“But having worked with him and when you see him at close hand, on a day-to-day basis, then you understand exactly what type of player they actually are.
“He has surpassed my feelings in terms of his ability and he is a better player than I had given him credit for, so we have been really pleased and that is with the caveat that he is not as fit as he can be.
“Danny had a bit of a fragmented pre-season with an injury before he joined us, an issue with his foot, so he has not really had good solid weeks of training leading up to games, but that will come.
“Ideally we would have preferred him to play this week, but it means we will be able to get good work into him during the time he is not available. This time next week, he will be raring to go again.”