sport news Injuries and James Maddison's misery are DAMAGING Leicester's bid to build on ...

sport news Injuries and James Maddison's misery are DAMAGING Leicester's bid to build on ...
sport news Injuries and James Maddison's misery are DAMAGING Leicester's bid to build on ...

As Burnley forward Matej Vydra turned the Leicester defence this way and that, a man who would have stopped him with little fuss was watching from the West Stand at King Power Stadium, patiently signing autographs and posing for selfies.

Say what you like about the FA Cup winners’ early-season wobble, the impact of the absence of Wesley Fofana cannot be overstated.

Signed for £32million in summer 2020, Fofana fractured his fibula and damaged ankle ligaments during a pre-season friendly against Villarreal and will not play a significant part in this campaign.

The impact of the absence of Wesley Fofana on Leicester this season cannot be overstated

The impact of the absence of Wesley Fofana on Leicester this season cannot be overstated

If Fofana had stayed fit and progressed at the same rate as last season, Leicester would probably have been offered more for him next summer than the £80m Manchester United paid for Harry Maguire two years ago.

Throw in the injuries to Jonny Evans, who has an ongoing foot problem, and James Justin, who damaged cruciate knee ligaments last February, and it is easy to see why Leicester have conceded 12 goals in the league this season. Only Leeds, Newcastle and Norwich have let in more.

If Vydra (nine goals in 90 league games), can cause Leicester trouble, what might Cristiano Ronaldo do when Manchester United arrive on Friday?

Boss Brendan Rodgers has built one of the finest teams in Leicester’s history since taking charge from Claude Puel in February 2019. They won the FA Cup for the first time last season and finished fifth in both the manager’s two full seasons, also winning the Community Shield this year.

James Justin damaged cruciate knee ligaments

Jonny Evans has an ongoing foot problem

James Justin (left) and Jonny Evans (right) are also suffering with their own injuries

Jannik Vestergaard (left), a £15million summer signing from Southampton, has struggled - his lack of pace exposed by counter-attacking teams

Jannik Vestergaard (left), a £15million summer signing from Southampton, has struggled - his lack of pace exposed by counter-attacking teams

Yet sorting the defence is a priority for Rodgers. After Leicester had thrown away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Crystal Palace, it was instructive to hear Rodgers say he’d had little confidence they would keep their lead.

Alternating between a back three and a back four, the Foxes have not kept a clean sheet in the league since their 1-0 win over Wolves on the opening day of the season.

Jannik Vestergaard, a £15m summer signing from Southampton, has struggled - his lack of pace exposed by counter-attacking teams - and Caglar Soyuncu is out of form. And there will be no Wilfred Ndidi against United because the holding midfielder has a hamstring injury.

Rodgers hopes Evans will be available soon, although Northern Ireland coach Ian Baraclough caused alarm when he said the 33-year-old ‘has not only got to think about his foot for the rest of his career but for after football as well’.

The next move may be to switch Timothy Castagne into a back three, with Ricardo Pereira at right wing-back

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