Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino hopes that Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne will be available for Saturday's Premier League opener.
The defensive pair are both doubts for the trip to West Brom with 22-year-old Clyne struggling for match fitness and Shaw attempting to recover from an injury sustained during the club's final pre-season friendly.
The highly rated 18-year-old hobbled off during the 4-3 win over Real Sociedad last Saturday and the early prognosis of the knee problem did not look promising, but it is believed he could be ready to feature.
Pochettino has also insisted that he is "itching" to get going and will not be put off by his side’s recent poor form against Steve Clarke’s men having lost both games last season.
"This is the first game of the season, and that makes it extra-special for every team. It's going to be a demanding game." the 41-year-old said.
"Every game is different when you go from one season to the next. There are different players both here and at West Brom.
"There are little things we've worked on during pre-season, but our general style is going to stay the same."
Pochettino would not be drawn on reports that Roma had accepted an offer for Pablo Osvaldo.
He did, however, express his delight with the signings he has already brought in, with Croatia international Dejan Lovren and Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama both joining Southampton.
|Coach: S. Clarke|
for N. Anelka 83'
for S. Long 83'
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