Rodriguez setback leaves Saints reeling
Jay Rodriguez has suffered a setback in his recovery from serious injury and will not be able to return to the Southampton side until February at the earliest.
The former Burnley star, who was Saints' top-scorer last season, finding the net 15 times in 33 Premier League appearances, had anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery in April.
Southampton boss Ronald Koeman is unsure when the England international will be able to return to first-team action but knows it will certainly not be by the end of January.
Rodriguez, who has been linked with a transfer to Tottenham where he would be reunited with former Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino, had to undergo a second minor operation to clear out his joint but the setback is hampering his progress.
It's always difficult now because it's not good to fix on a special date to come back.Ronald Koeman
"I think now, in this situation, he will not be available before the end of January," said Koeman.
"That's difficult because he had to make a step back in his recovery and that was a pity because I remember when we spoke about the squad in the pre-season Jay will be a fantastic sign up for December or January and he isn't.
"All these kind of unlucky moments of injuries make parts of the difficult time that we have. After a big injury you don't have to rush. He needs time and we have given him the time to come back, but it's a pity because he's a great player.
"It's always difficult now because it's not good to fix on a special date to come back. To fix a date makes the pressure on the player and the medical staff."
Southampton, who have lost their last four Premier League matches and were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Sheffield United on Tuesday, are 10/3 to finish in the top six this season.
They can also be backed at 13/8 to keep a clean sheet against Everton on Saturday and at 10/1 to beat Roberto Martinez's side 2-0.
Don't forget, if the match finishes 0-0, bet365 will refund all pre-match Correct Score, Half-Time/Full-Time and Scorecast bets with our fantastic Bore Draw Money Back offer.
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