NIGEL Adkins has played down his efforts to bring in new players as the January transfer window enters its final week.

Saints have been chasing another striker and a centre half this month but having recruited Tadanari Lee, who could figure at Millwall on Saturday, and Yago Falque, who made an uninspiring debut against Leicester last night, have found it hard to add what they want for a sensible price.

Adkins has twice bid for Celtic striker Gary Hooper but not got anywhere and it’s now getting close to decision time as the window begins to swing shut.

Adkins was keener to focus on the players he has to return to the side – including Rickie Lambert after his three match ban – than what he might bring in.

“There are players that aren’t fit at this moment in time, who are unavailable through suspension,” he said.

“All being well they’re all going to be available for if not Saturday then the Tuesday game.

“We have a lot of players coming back who are very close.

“That’s what a squad of players is all about.

“We haven’t performed, we haven’t got the result we needed but what we’ve got to do is stick together and work very hard which we’ve done all season.

“We are getting challenged but we will keep everybody strong as a unit, strong as a group, reflect on it and move forward.

“When Rickie Lambert comes back, Lee Barnard comes back, Tadanari Lee flies into the country this week, Richard Chaplow comes back, Jose Fonte comes back – they’re just a few names off the tip of the tongue that would be starters in anybody’s team.

“All being well they will be available for Saturday and Tuesday against Cardiff here.”

Saints were also missing Adam Lallana with a groin injury against Leicester and saw Jos Hooiveld hobble off clutching his hamstring.

“He’s getting assessed,”

reported Adkins of the Dutchman.

“He’s highlighted his hamstring and that’s something we could have done without.”

Adkins insists he is keen not to hide behind injuries as a reason for the recent shaky form but conceded: “It is a factor.

“I haven’t used it as an excuse and I never will and they are key players but when they’re out it gives opportunities for other players to stand up and be counted.”