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Stern JohnOut-of-contract striker Stern John has returned to train with Southampton and has set his sights on making a surprise return to St. Mary's…

The Trinidad and Tobago international spent the majority of last season on loan with Bristol City after making the switch to Ashton Gate last October, making 26 appearances for the Robins.

Although John is currently without a club and recovering from a minor back problem, the 32-year old has returned to Staplewood this week and has told Mark Wotte that he is keen to impress the Dutchman as he aims to regain his fitness.

"Stern is back with us and we have given him the opportunity to train with the first team," Wotte said. "We have spoken about his future and he has said he is enjoying being back on the training ground.

"He needs to work on his fitness a little and knows that he would have to settle for a lot less if we were in a position to offer him any sort of contract in League One.

"That is not something that we are able to do until any takeover has been agreed, but we are doing what we can to make sure we are as prepared as possible.

"We are hoping to be able to play him in some of the friendlies coming up and we will see how things work out over the next couple of weeks."

John's only Saints goal last term came in spectacular fashion when he came off the bench to give the travelling fans some late hope in the Carling Cup clash against Rotherham.

With Saints already trailing behind their League Two opponents, Jan Poortvliet introduced John to almost immediate effect and he chested a high ball down before unleashing a stunning right-footed volley that flew straight into the top left-hand corner.

John was also Saints top-scorer in his first season at St. Mary's after joining in August 2007 as part of the deal that took Kenwyne Jones to Sunderland's Stadium of Light.

His two goals on the final day of that season against Sheffield United ensured Saints' Championship survival and sparked wild celebrations on the south coast, although John's match ended prematurely when his was dismissed for a second bookable offence.