After a terrible start to the season, and a woeful away record (1-5-0, with their only win at Queens Park Rangers), Southampton have rounded into form and have climbed out of the relegation zone, albeit only on goal difference. Now they face an additional hurdle, as captain Adam Lallana will miss the festive matches with a knee injury.
Southampton sweating on fitness of captain Adam Lallana - ESPN FC
Southampton are preparing for the busy festive period without captain Adam Lallana after it was confirmed he damaged knee ligaments during the 1-0 Premier League defeat against Reading.
But he could be missing for the games against Sunderland, Fulham, Stoke and Arsenal in the league and Chelsea in the FA Cup. An exact length of absence is yet to be confirmed by the club and is understood to depend on his reaction to treatment.
Fortunately for the Saints, but to the detriment of fantasy managers, they have options available to replace him.
Tadanari Lee to make Premier League bow? (From Daily Echo)
Forgotten man Tadanari Lee is hoping to stake a claim to replace Adam Lallana in the Saints team...
Being left footed and an energetic presence Lee could slot into the role filled by Lallana but he has serious competition to fend off.
Jay Rodriguez has also played there while Gaston Ramirez and Jason Puncheon are also both comfortable in that position, which could open the door for the likes of Emmanuel Mayuka and Guly do Prado who have had to settle for spots on the bench.
I would expect Jay Rodriguez to get the nod with Ramirez continuing to play "in the hole" behind Ricky Lambert. Either becomes a good fantasy bet this weekend as they host Sunderland who have only looked good against Reading recently.
Saints confirm, but don't clarify, Lallana's injury.
Adkins on Lallana injury: "He won't be available against Sunderland & that is all I need to say. That's all we're going to say." Very odd.— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) December 20, 2012