RUSSELL Martin says it would have been a “risk” to start Jan Bednarek in Saints 1-0 loss to Ipswich after the defender only recently returned from injury.
The Polish international missed Southampton’s 4-1 loss to Leicester on Friday night after picking up an injury while away with Poland.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Shea Charles both kept their place in defence, with Bednarek coming on in the second half.
Speaking immediately after the game on Tuesday night, Martin explained why he opted to keep the young centre-back pairing
He said: “Bednarek has been injured. He only came back on Friday afternoon from the international break with Poland and getting treatment there.
“He wasn’t available for Saturday and has only trained for one day. It would have been a bit of a risk to chuck him in and try and ask him to play 90 minutes.
“It also meant we could keep some level of consistency with the players as well because we haven’t been able to play the same team at all this season.
“I thought Jan was great when he came on. It was great to have him back on the pitch. He’s got through tonight, so hopefully he is ready to rock and roll on Saturday.”
Ipswich’s only goal came from an error by Charles as the young Northern Ireland international tried to pass the ball out from the back.
“We have never worked on it but Shea tried to show initiative and drive forward with the ball,” Martin continued.
“He is brave. He is not a problem. He stayed brave for the whole game and he is going to be fantastic.
“He is going to be better for that mistake tonight. He is going to learn and grow from that. The guys in front of him need to give him more help.”