Niemi hopes for recall
By Mark Buckingham. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Antti Niemi admits Southampton manager Harry Redknapp faces a tough choice ahead of the FA Cup quarter final against Manchester United.
The Finnish goalkeeper has missed the past month of the season due to a knee injury but is now pressing for a recall.
But during Niemi's absence, Paul Smith has grasped his chance with both gloves and proved an able understudy to the number one.
Niemi is uncertain if he will be back in goal against The Red Devils on Saturday after conceding Redknapp has a selection dilemma.
"I hope so," Niemi told Sky Sports News when asked if he would be recalled.
"He's (Smith) done exceptionally well in the last few games so it's going to be a difficult decision for the manager.
"For me it is nothing new, I've been in this situation before with Paul Jones injured and he did very well for us when (Gordon) Strachan was manager here.
"So whatever happens on Saturday I'm right behind the manager."
Despite the rivalry between the two keepers at St Mary's, Niemi revealed he is pleased that Smith has impressed during his spell in the team.
He added: "I'm happy for him. He is buzzing at the moment.
"Obviously it's a big step to take to have your debut and do well and people will take notice.
"He's taken that step now and you know, nothing's changed. But I'm back in training, we're working together again and we'll just see what happens."
Meanwhile, Southampton have confirmed that Jo Tessem has left the club to return to Norway to sign for Lyn.