Southampton are likely to be boosted by the return of Ryan Bertrand for their upcoming visit to Arsenal. The left-back has yet to make a single Premier League appearance this season, missing underwhelming home draws against Watford and Sunderland in addition to the defeat at Manchester United as a result of a similar knee injury that kept him out until late September last season.
Bertrand was deemed fit enough to be named as a substitute for the clash with the Black Cats at St Mary's, but remained on the bench for the entirety of a 1-1 stalemate that saw Jay Rodriguez prove his worth with a late equaliser that squirmed under the body of Jordan Pickford after Jermain Defoe looked to have secured the first league victory of David Moyes' reign from the penalty spot.
Academy graduate Matt Targett has deputised in Bertrand's absence, but Puel sounded hopeful in a pre-match press conference held on Thursday afternoon (8 September) that the 27-year-old, who made one appearance for England at Euro 2016, was now in a position to feature after continuing his rehabilitation during the recent international break.
"During the international break, he worked well with a good level and I think it's now possible that he can start this game," he was quoted as saying by the Saints. "He made progress on the physical level."
Southampton will also have Fraser Forster fit and ready to face Arsenal. The towering goalkeeper may well have started Sam Allardyce's first game as England manager last weekend in Slovakia with Joe Hart moving on loan to Torino after being demoted by Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, yet was eventually replaced in the squad for Trnava by club teammate Alex McCarthy as a precautionary measure due to a minor arm injury.
"Yes, I think it's OK for Fraser," Puel said in an update. "It was not a good thing that he could not stay with the selection, but it's a good thing for Alex McCarthy... for the second goalkeeper."
While there was positive news with regards to both Bertrand and Forster, Southampton are set to be without new signing Jeremy Pied for up to nine months. The right-back, who followed Puel to English football from Nice on a free transfer in early August, underwent surgery last week after suffering a serious cruciate knee ligament injury during a training session.
"It's a big injury," the manager added. "It's a bad moment for him and the team also because I think he will be important for the squad. But it's life and the career of a player. Perhaps he can come back in six months. Between six and nine months, I don't know. I hope he can come back after the end of the season to help us."