Southampton F.C. manager Ronald Koeman is prepared to give midfielder Gaston Ramirez another chance to prove himself at St Mary’s.
The Uruguay international, 24, joined the Saints from Italian Serie A side Bologna for a then club-record fee of £12 million in the summer of 2012.
However, Ramirez’s three-year spell in Hampshire has been largely unsuccessful. The 24-year-old’s last start for the Saints came on 12 April 2014 against Cardiff City.
But Ramirez came off the bench in Wednesday’s 6-0 Capital One Cup rout of MK Dons, and Koeman has suggested more first-team opportunities could be on the horizon for the Uruguayan.
“What’s changed? What has changed is we passed the transfer window,” the Koeman said. “We had some injuries with some players and I gave some players a rest.
“Of course, normally, it is a possibility to take one of the strikers from the U21s, but they played on Monday for 90 minutes.
“He is part of the team, he is training well, his behaviour is positive. I’m the first to give that kind of player a chance when we need somebody. Injuries are one of the big problems for Gaston.
“I spoke to him before starting the pre-season and for the first time he had a normal holiday and after seven or eight days of the pre-season, he got an injury and lost three weeks in the pre-season. Then you know it is difficult.
“Still, he isn’t the first choice on the position in front, but I know his qualities. He is technically a very good player and if he is physically on level, yeah, why not? Why not? It’s competition.
“It’s all about your performance during the whole week and if you get the opportunity to play show your qualities.”
Newport sign Blackwood, Donacien
League Two side Newport County A.F.C. have completed the one-month loan signings of Tyler Blackwood and Janoi Donacien, from Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa respectively.
Blackwood is available for Saturday’s league clash with Carlisle United.
Meanwhile, Donacien, 21, could also feature on Saturday, subject to international clearance.
The 21-year-old just returned from a loan spell at Wycombe Wanderers, also in League Two, where he made two appearances.
Having scored a league-low five goals and conceded a league-high 15 in eight games, Newport County (0-2-6) are currently priced at 13/8 to finish bottom of the League Two table in 2015/16.