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Striker boost for Pellegrino as encouraging reports emerge

Southampton supporters have been slightly more upbeat in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their team produce a much-improved display to deservedly draw 1-1 at home to Champions League-chasing Tottenham on Sunday.

Mauricio Pellegrino’s men went into their clash with the North London outfit having failed to win any of their preceding ten Premier League matches, a run of form which has seen them slip into the division’s bottom three. And although they were unable to move out of it with a point on Sunday, the Saints were much better and deservedly drew with Mauricio Pochettino’s side, with Harry Kane’s 99th Premier League goal cancelling out the own goal scored by Davinson Sanchez to secure a point for the visitors.

Thus, there have been many satisfied Southampton fans in the Tavern in the last few days, and they are likely to be further encouraged by recent comments from Pellegrino in his pre-Watford press conference (via Ben Dinnery on Twitter), which suggests that striker Shane Long will return to the squad against the Hornets.

The 30-year-old missed last weekend’s draw with Tottenham due to illness but had started each of their four Premier League games prior to that, as well as their 1-0 victory over Fulham in the third round of the FA Cup.

And the Saints boss appears to have received a boost as the Irishman is reportedly set to return to the team for the visit of the Hornets, with the South Coast outfit seeking to make the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2014.

Landlord’s verdict: Southampton’s goal-scoring woes have been well documented this season, and while Shane Long hasn’t been hugely prolific, he did start their preceding five matches prior to missing last weekend’s draw with Tottenham due to illness.

Yet manager Mauricio Pellegrino has detailed a striker boost ahead of the visit of Watford in the FA Cup on Saturday, as the Irishman has reportedly recovered from illness and will return to the squad ahead of their fourth round meeting.

And the Saints will hope that Long can help them build upon last week’s encouraging draw with Spurs with victory over the Hornets at St Mary’s.

Southampton fans… what do you make of the news? Let us know!

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