Despite being one of Southampton’s focal attacking options, the club have been performing reasonably well in the absence of Nathan Redmond.
The 25-year-old attacker has missed the past two games against Manchester United and Sheffield United due to injury, yet that hasn’t stopped the Saints from both performing well and getting goals on the scoreboard.
Indeed, the former Norwich City ace could be in-line to return tonight against Bournemouth, with Ralph Hasenhuttl admitting in his pre-match press conference that Redmond will be a last-minute decision for the clash against their south coast rivals.
Yet the Austrian manager could be wise to omit Redmond out for their upcoming Premier League clash against the Cherries in favour of giving the winger a full-run out against Portsmouth next Tuesday.
There is no question that Saints fans have one eye on their clash with Pompey next week already, and who can blame them.
The South Coast Derby is one of the most intense rivalries in English football, and with this being their first meeting in nearly seven years, it is understandable why excitement and tensions between the two sets of supporters is high.
And it is for this reason why Redmond, who is valued on Transfermarkt at £18m, should be rested for Bournemouth and giving the starting position midweek.
A player of Redmond’s quality lining up in the starting XI will be something that can strike fear into Portsmouth players as well as be a major morale boost for both Southampton fans and their players in seeing one of their star names return for arguably their most anticipated fixture in years.
Three points in the Premier League against Bournemouth will no doubt be important for Hasenhuttl, but allowing Redmond to rest-up for those few extra days in order for him to be 100% for Portsmouth could be a smart decision, and one that results in Saints fans having the bragging rights on the south coast for years to come.