Ralph Hasenhuttl relishing duel between keepers Fraser Forster and Alex McCarthy

Nick Purewal, PA

Ralph Hasenhuttl has admitted Fraser Forster is heaping the pressure on Southampton’s number one goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.

Forster has impressed in FA Cup action and kept another clean sheet as Saints claimed a fine 2-0 win at Wolves to reach the quarter-finals in midweek.

Now Southampton will host Wolves in Sunday’s Premier League clash, in a quick-fire return encounter, where McCarthy should be restored to the starting XI.

However, Hasenhuttl has conceded that Forster continues to put the squeeze on his selection decisions with his performances in the cup.

“It’s always important to have a duel, a battle, in every position; this is always good,” said Hasenhuttl.

“He wants to stay in the cup, and have a few more games, this is for sure.

“So there you are, give us the clean sheets and the rest is set up for us to score.”

Saints’ cup win at Wolves eased the pressure after a run of five straight Premier League losses, with the south coast men now desperate to hit back to winning ways in the league.

Boss Hasenhuttl has been relieved to see a crippling injury crisis start to abate, leaving the Austrian hoping a fitter squad can mean a return to top form.

“It’s such an intense year this season with all the problems we’ve had, tough fixtures and intense weeks,” said Hasenhuttl.

“It’s not always possible to play with the best side. Everybody feels it.

“More and more teams are starting struggling with muscle injuries, but we hopefully have this behind us now.

“If we hadn’t had the injury problems I think we could be higher in the table.

“But to be in the quarter-final of the FA Cup is a great opportunity to show up again.

“That’s important for us, but it’s also important to show up again in the Premier League this weekend.

“If we play like we did in midweek we definitely have the quality to do better.”

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