Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl will not rush Danny Ings’ return to action

Ings has been out since he netted the only goal in a 1-0 win over his former club Liverpool on January 4.

By Press Association Published: 18 January 2021 - 10.30pm

Ralph Hasenhuttl has vowed to take a cautious approach over the return to action of Southampton’s top goalscorer Danny Ings and remains hopeful the striker will sign a new contract.

Ings has been out of action since he netted the only goal in a 1-0 win over his former club Liverpool on January 4, after testing positive for coronavirus.

And although the 28-year-old is now out of self-isolation, Saints manager Hasenhuttl said he is unlikely to feature in his side’s rescheduled FA Cup third-round clash against Shrewsbury on Tuesday as the club look to ease him back.

“(He will be out of the Shrewsbury match) just because he has missed training,” the Austrian said.

“We want to prepare him and build him up. He worked at home a little bit but it is not the same as being on the pitch with us and training with us.

“That is the reason why we need to give him time. Because of the risk of another injury, I don’t want to take (risks). I want to build him up a little bit and then when he is ready, he can play.”

Hasenhuttl said the England international, whose current deal expires in 2022, was in talks over committing his future to the club, but conceded the coronavirus pandemic has made things “tricky” for all Premier League teams.

“This is not a big surprise when I say he is very important for our game, he knows this, we know this,” added Hasenhuttl.

“We have won games without him…but for the long term, (when he is out for a long time) we really feel it and the quality he has is definitely outstanding and definitely important for us.

“It is (difficult) for us as a club to sub him or to use somebody who is at the same level as he is, so this is also why we really tried to extend his contract, this is not a surprise and not a secret.

“But, as always, we are in the negotiation. We have at the moment a tricky situation for every club in the Premier League.

“I think everybody is losing a lot of money at the moment with this crisis we are going through, so we can only do what we are able to do and what is still (financially) healthy for us and that’s why we are looking I think.

“Danny chose to be with us, he wants to be with the club and we know that he’s an important player for us, and I’m still hoping that we find an agreement and then finally he stays with us.

“But if not life will go on and this club will still exist and hopefully we find a way that we can both live with it.”

Hasenhuttl indicated he would make a number of changes on Tuesday.

“It depends what players I want to rest and which players from Saturday have issues,” he said.

“We know a few players where it isn’t good if they play two games in a few days. The decision you have to take is who you give a chance to. There will be five players, so half of the team will be new.”

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