Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 February 2020

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy set to return for League Cup semi-final clash at Aston Villa

The Premier League's top scorer has been out with a hamstring injury but Foxes manager Rodgers says the 33-year-old 'will have a part to play' in Tuesday's second leg

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, right, with manager Brendan Rodgers after the League Cup semi-final first-leg draw with Aston Villa. Reuters
Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, right, with manager Brendan Rodgers after the League Cup semi-final first-leg draw with Aston Villa. Reuters

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is set to return from a hamstring injury for his side's Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg at Aston Villa on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old missed his side's FA Cup win at Brentford having limped off with a possible hamstring problem during the previous game against West Ham.

However, Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed the veteran will make an appearance at Villa Park.

"He'll be in the squad," he said. "He's worked very hard since picking up the injury in midweek and we'll give it another full day, so we can see how he is tomorrow and decide if he starts or comes off the bench. But he will have a part to play."

Asked whether Vardy could manage 90 minutes, Rodgers said: "Will he be 100 per cent? He might only be at 80 per cent fitness but I'd rather have an 80 per cent Jamie Vardy than no Jamie Vardy at all, because of what he gives the team and his threat.

"But we also have to consider the risk of further injury and that's what we're weighing up.

"He's come through the last two days on the [training] field well. We'll see how that looks in the morning, but I'm very confident he'll be involved in some part."

Rodgers also confirmed Wilfred Ndidi is fit to start but Nampalys Mendy (knee) and Wes Morgan (illness) will not be available.

In terms of bolstering his squad Rodgers is cautiously optimistic about bringing in defensive reinforcements.

"It's still ongoing and it will go into this week," he said. "There's a lot of work going on behind the scenes to get a few players in but we'll see how the rest of the week goes and what it brings.

"It's still a possibility; it's always difficult to get the players you want but there are ongoing discussions so hopefully we can do some work."

Leicester travel to Villa Park with the Carabao Cup semi-final tie delicately poised after a 1-1 draw in the first leg.

"It's a semi-final and a wonderful opportunity for us," Rodgers said. "We played well in the first game and didn't get the result we wanted so we're looking forward to it. It will be tight but both teams will go all out.

"They're confident, after some good results. We've got to bring that quality we've had and use it to get to that final.

"We've got to stay calm. There's a lot of emotion around these games. You have to play with emotion but also calmness. We're happy with where it's at."

Vills manager Dean Smith has called on new signing Mbwana Samatta to make an immediate impact at the club.

After playing the last four matches without a recognised striker, Villa boss Smith will hand Samatta his debut against Leicester following the Tanzania international's recent £8.5 million (Dh40.8m) move from Genk.

After losing £22m summer capture Wesley to a long-term injury at the start of the month, Smith is relieved to finally have a new forward on board, although is wary of putting too much pressure on the 27-year-old from the off.

"We've all seen before how expectations can be built up, but not from within the building," said Smith. "There's always an adaptation risk when a player comes in from another country, and we've had a few this season.

"We're not expecting him to hit the ground running straight away, but we know the qualities he has and hopefully he can bring them to the forefront straight away.

With the tie delicately poised, Smith has his sights set on leading his team out at Wembley on March 1. "The football club has won this competition five times," he said. "It's got a great history. To get to a major domestic cup final in my first full season would be magnificent."

Updated: January 27, 2020 07:49 PM

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