Yeovil’s visit to St Mary’s could give Jos Hooiveld and Maya Yoshida the chance to audition for the centre-back role left vacant by the injury to Dejan Lovren.
The pair are the obvious contenders to start at the heart of defence in tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth round tie, with one of them then likely to partner José Fonte in Tuesday’s home game against Arsenal.
Lovren is set to miss between six and eight weeks with ankle ligament damage.
And, with no plans as yet to dip into the transfer market in that area, both Hooiveld and Yoshida may be given an opportunity to stake their claim for an extended run in the team against a Yeovil side whose entire squad cost around £20,000.
Saints will certainly be careful with many of their regular starters tomorrow, assistant manager Jesús Pérez admitting that the team selection will be made with Tuesday’s game in mind.
“We have, in a short period, two games, so we have to decide the best squad for Saturday,” he said. “Obviously, thinking we have a tough game on Tuesday against Arsenal.
“Obviously, we have to pick the team thinking we have a game on Tuesday.”
Saints have had some of their under-21 players training with the first-team this week, and Pérez confirmed that “three or four” will be involved.
“We have a decision if they will play in the first XI or maybe they will stay on the bench,” he said.
Midfield powerhouse Victor Wanyama, who has been missing since early December with a fractured foot, is back in training, but Pérez was giving the indication he will be held back until next week.
“We will see the next days, but probably for the next week maybe Victor will be better,” he said.
While Saints will be heavily favoured against a Yeovil side that are second-from-bottom in the Championship, Pérez revealed that they are planning for the Somerset club like they would as if they were playing a Premier League side.
“We are doing the same process to scout the team as we did for the Premier League teams,” he said.
“We always take very seriously every single opponent and we expect a difficult game.
“It doesn’t matter whether the team are on the bottom of the Championship, because the FA Cup gives you some different feelings to play.
“They will play without pressure probably, so they have nothing to lose. “It will be a difficult game for us.”
Pérez added: “It’s a good game for us, just to keep the normal way during the week, so we don’t just stop playing official games, and also to give opportunity for some players.”