Southampton team news: Fresh injury update on Jack Stephens ahead of Norwich clash

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Tom Barclay has provided a positive update on the fitness of Southampton defender Jack Stephens.

He hasn't played since hobbling out of the goalless draw at Manchester City in September, but Barclay reckons that he could be back in action soon.

What happened to Stephens?

Stephens had been in and out the team last season, starting 17 games in the Premier League, whilst being an unused substitute on 20 occasions.

But the centre-back ended the campaign in the side and therefore started this season in Ralph Hasenhuttl's starting XI.

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He would start the opening five Premier League games as Southampton struggled to pick up points but suffered an injury 37 minutes into Saints' 0-0 draw with the champions on September 18.

Stephens had sustained what Hasenhuttl described as a tendon injury and initially said that he could be out for up to 12 weeks.

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ENTER GIVEAWAY

Had that timescale been accurate, Stephens wouldn't have returned until the festive period, but the Austrian revealed on Monday that he's already resumed individual training and is closing in on a return to action.

It's not yet known whether Stephens will be available for Southampton's trip to Norwich on Saturday week, but Barclay provided a promising update on his chances of being available in the near future.

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What did Barclay say?

He told GIVEMESPORT: "I feel for Jack Stephens because at times he's had a strange career at Southampton where he's been in favour and out of favour, he always seems to be very committed and a useful asset.

"He was playing really well and then he gets this injury but it's great that he's going to be back soon."

Will Stephens come straight back into the XI?

In Stephens' absence, Jan Bednarek has stepped up to partner Mohammed Salisu at the heart of the Saints defence.

Together, those two have conceded just six goals in six-and-a-half matches, which includes games at both Manchester City and Chelsea, where half of those were shipped in a 3-1 defeat.

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But in recent weeks, the duo have really come up with the goods, helping Southampton keep three clean sheets in four matches and collect 10 points from a possible 12 in that period.

Stephens was first-choice some two months ago, but those two don't appear in any danger of losing their places, so the former Plymouth youngster is going to need to remain patient before he dislodges one of those from the side.

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