By Ed Elliot, PA
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl insists his side are “preparing 100 per cent” for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Brentford amid ongoing coronavirus uncertainty.
Bees manager Thomas Frank called for the weekend round of top-flight fixtures to be postponed, with 13 cases of Covid-19 among players and staff at his club.
Saints have so far been relatively untroubled by the virus and Hasenhuttl says he is content to follow guidance from the football authorities and for the game to go ahead as planned.
“I don’t have a clear view how many players, how many staff members (at Brentford) are affected from this,” said Hasenhuttl.
“But we are preparing 100 per cent for the game in the moment, this is what we have been told.
“We know about the rules from the FA that we were told of before the season: you have to have, I think, 13 available players, an open training ground, and the local government being positive for the game.
“The rest is up to the FA, case by case. They will find a decision if we have to play or not and we are preparing 100 per cent for the game.”
The majority of Southampton’s players and staff have been vaccinated.
Hasenhuttl takes encouragement from operating under those circumstances and believes the club’s Staplewood training ground is among the “safest” places to be.
“I feel absolutely safe because we all stick to the rules,” said the Austrian. “We know that we have to do it and I feel safe.
“Here everybody is tested, everybody is vaccinated, you know you’re in a safe environment.
“This is what we feel since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Until now we had a good run, if you want, through this time with nearly no cases and you should feel the safest in the training ground or around the people here because you know that they are sticking to the rules.”
Southampton go into the weekend sitting 15th in the table following Wednesday evening’s 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace.
Aside from some “tired legs”, Saints have no fresh injury concerns following the trip to Selhurst Park.
But goalkeepers Alex McCarthy and Fraser Forster remain sidelined, in addition to midfielder Stuart Armstrong and forwards Che Adams and Adam Armstrong.