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Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina steps up recovery from injury

14:59 BST 18/04/2019
Mario Lemina Southampton
The Gabon international is yet to play a competitive game since he suffered an abdominal strain last December

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl disclosed that Mario Lemina has made a ‘big step forward’ in his recovery from injury.

The 25-year-old went under the knife earlier this year to treat an abdominal injury and has not featured for the Saints in 2019.

Southampton, placed 16th in the Premier League table, are currently battling to maintain their top-flight status as they are just five points adrift of the drop zone.

Ahead of Saturday’s Premier League visit to Newcastle United, Hasenhuttl stated that Lemina could feature in one of their five remaining games for the season.

“Mario Lemina made a big step forward in the week. He’s trained with the team and looks much better now – that’s good for him and good for us,” Hasenhüttl told club website.

“We know we have an intense week with three games, so it will be nice if we have one more option in this position.

“I have spoken about it and I am sure he will play [at least] one more game this season. The chances are big because now he is training with the team, so maybe his injury has come to an end.”

Prior to the setback, Lemina played 20 games for the Saints in all competitions with a solitary assist to his credit.

Lemina’s Gabon will not be participating at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after failing to qualify from Group C, with Mali and Burundi securing the qualification tickets at their expense.