Karl Robinson could be in the market for a goalkeeper after injury ruled out David Martin for the next few games.
Martin suffered a hamstring injury late in the day in the 2-0 defeat to Bristol City and looks set for at least two weeks on the sidelines.
Cody Cropper is the natural replacement, with the American U23 international vying for a place in the Olympic squad ahead of this summer’s Games.
But with Cropper still something of an unknown quantity at Championship level, Robinson knows he may have to look elsewhere to fill the void between the sticks if Martin’s injury is long-term.
“I’d be looking for the best goalkeeper for this football club,” he said. “There’s a number of goalkeepers out there that we might want to bring in. We need to see if Cody is up to it.
“If Cody can handle the pressure, I’d still be looking to bring in someone to push Cody.
“We don’t know what could happen. If Cody gets injured, we bring someone in and he’s keeping clean sheets, when Dave gets fit, he’ll have competition too. That’s the reality. Success is borne out of the right competition.”
The timescale of Martin’s injury remains unknown as yet as the medical staff wait for the swelling in his hamstring to subside before sending him for a scan. And after seeing his keeper go down with 10 minutes to go on Saturday, Robinson said he expected the worse.
“During the game, I expected him to be out for the rest of the season,” said Robinson.
“His injury has come at a bad time because he has been one of best players in the last month and it’s a terrible shame to us, just like losing Carl Baker was.
“Dave said it felt like a knife down his hamstring. But we think it’s a lot better than we thought.
“He won’t be fit for Tuesday, he won’t be fit for Saturday, and he might not be fit for the game after that. We need to see and assess it.”
While there are questions over Cropper though, Robinson believes the 23-year-old is the best back-up he has had at his disposal since taking over at the helm in 2010.
He said: “Cody has to step up and show what he’s made of. The games he has played here, he has been outstanding. You can’t look at the Southampton game really, but in training and games behind closed doors, he has been excellent.
“He’s a beast of a man, he makes our tunnel look a lot smaller. He’s physically demanding, but he’s still learning. He’s only 23. It’s a great opportunity for him.
“He could be going to the Olympics in the summer - it’s one of the biggest summers of his life. Not many people can say that.
“He’s a top goalkeeper, and will be an outstanding goalkeeper. And I know the players back him, which isn’t something we’ve had before.”