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'Important player' among trio Southampton hope to have back against Sheffield United

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl is hopeful of having three players back from injury against Sheffield United.

The Blades host Hasenhuttl’s side at 3pm in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

It’s the final of three straight home matches for United, who beat Aston Villa 1-0 at Bramall Lane last time out.

As for the Saints, they are on the back of successive league defeats. They haven’t won any of their last nine top flight fixtures, losing eight of them.

Injuries haven’t helped Hasenhuttl and his team, but the Austrian has some positive news ahead of the trip to Bramall Lane.

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“We have a few players back in training,” the 53-year-old said in his pre-match press conference.

“Ibra (Diallo), Taki (Minamino) and Kyle (Walker-Peters) are back in the sessions. If they are available for the game we have a look, but it looks good.”

Hasenhuttl continued: “We play on Wednesday (against Manchester City), so we must be careful who we take, how we rotate and how we manage the load.”

‘Important player’ back for Southampton at Sheffield United

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For Hasenhuttl, the return of one player in particular will be a huge boost.

That man is Walker-Peters.

“We miss him when he’s not playing,” Hasenhuttl said. “He was an important player during our best time of the season.

“We hope that if he’s coming back he can lift out game, but we’re still not 100 percent sure he can play at the weekend.”

Walker-Peters has played just once in the league since January 16 due to injury.

The right-back missed four matches due to a thigh problem and then injured his hamstring when he returned against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

It’s coincided with Southampton’s awful run of form.

During that time five different players have started in his position on the right side of defence, as Hasenhuttl has struggled to replace Walker-Peters.

The 23-year-old offers a great mix of attacking and defensive play and was a mainstay in the first half of 2020/21 as the Saints impressed.

However, as Hasenhuttl points out, his side have another game midweek.

They and Man City are the only teams to play between the two weekends. Therefore, Hasenhuttl will be wary about rushing too many players back too soon.

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