Pochettino: Southampton need injured players back

The Saints boss wants the likes of Gaston Ramirez and Dejan Lovren fit and ready to compete for places in the south-coast side's squad, with a tough trip to Hull City up next
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino is keen to get players back from injury in order to choose from a full-strength squad.

The Saints travel to Hull City on Tuesday and would go eighth with a point or better but, though Victor Wanyama has recently returned to action, attacking midfielder Gaston Ramirez and defender Dejan Lovren are both still out with ankle problems.

Pochettino told reporters of Wanyama: "He's had a very serious injury that kept him away from playing for two months and, in that time, Jack Cork has stepped up.

11/1 Southampton are 11/1 with William Hill to beat Hull City 2-0
"It's very important to us that they're competing for a position which is very good for the team and it's also very important that we start recovering some other players, like Gaston and Dejan - it's important that they are back with us as soon as possible.

"Our mentality is always the same, which is to be as high as possible in the table at the end of the season and also our goal as always is to win the game [on Tuesday] evening."

Pochettino anticipates a difficult match against Hull, whom he feels did some of the best business in the January transfer window by bringing in strike duo Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic - who both scored in a 2-0 win at Sunderland on Saturday.

"We're going to be facing a very tough Hull side who have made a lot of reinforcements during the transfer window," he observed.

"I think they are one of the teams that have spent the most money in the transfer window so, yes, we're fairly certain that we're facing a very tough team on Tuesday. I think Hull have always been a tough side and now, with these signings that they've made, they're an even tougher side to play against.

"They've made reinforcements in the names of Long and Jelavic - these are very important players, whereas we have only let one player leave and that was [Dani] Osvaldo - so, overall, we know we're going to be facing a very tough team."