Pierre-Emile Højbjerg is expected to return to the Southampton side this weekend, with Mark Hughes praising the midfielder's influence.
The Danish international missed last weekend's draw with Newcastle after being taken ill on the morning of the match, but he has been back in training over the past few days and is fit for Sunday's trip to champions Manchester City.
"It was a shame last weekend," said Hughes. "He was really looking forward to the game and has had a big influence on our recent performances and has been a real driving force, along with Mario [Lemina] in the middle of the park in those games, so for him to miss out so late was detrimental to us.
he's having an influence on every opposition team we're up against at the moment.mark hughes
on pierre-emile højbjerg
"I think with Pierre in, given his current form, that could have been the difference between the one point we got and the three points we felt we deserved. It was a shame, but nothing could change the situation. He was very poorly at the time, so it's taken him three or four days to get over it, but he's trained well the last couple of days, so he's ready to go."
Speaking about his form this season, Hughes said: "He's having an influence on every opposition team we're up against at the moment and I think his physicality – he's a big guy, but he's mobile and technically he's very good as well, so these are really significant traits that he's got, and that's what you need as a Premier League midfield player."
Hughes has also been pleased with what he has seen from Højbjerg's partnership with Lemina at the base of midfield.
"I think we're seeing that they enjoy playing together," he said. "There's good rapport between them, they understand when one presses, the other covers, and vice versa.
"It looks a good pairing at the moment, so hopefully we can keep them together."