Monday , February 10 2020

Aston Villa v Leicester City: Jamie Vardy in squad for Carabao Cup semi-final

Vardy had to be substituted before half-time in Leicester victory over West Ham

Brendan Rodgers has confirmed Jamie Vardy will be in the Leicester squad to face Aston Villa in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg.

Striker Vardy, 33, picked up a gluteal injury during the Foxes’ 4-1 Premier League win over West Ham on Wednesday.

Leicester travel to Villa Park with the tie finely balanced at 1-1.

“He’s in the squad and we’ll give it another full day,” said Foxes boss Rodgers. “It’s one where, if you’re asking me if he’s 100%, he may be 80%.”

He added: “I’d rather have an 80% Jamie Vardy. He’s come through the last two days on the field well – he has a part to play.”

Vardy is the Premier League’s top scorer this season with 17 goals, although he has failed to find the net in his past five games.

Rodgers has the option to start former Manchester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho in place of Vardy for the game at Villa Park.

The 23-year-old scored his seventh goal in 12 games this season in Leicester’s 1-0 FA Cup fourth-round win over Brentford on Saturday.

“[Iheanacho] has trained ever so hard and now he has become really efficient where he is creating and scoring goals,” Rodgers said.

“It is brilliant for him because it was a difficult period when he came, but he is very much an important player for us.”

Wilfred Ndidi, who suffered a knee injury in training in early January, is fit to start but Nampalys Mendy and Wes Morgan will not be available.

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith is expected to give new signing Mbwana Samatta a first start.

The 27-year-old Tanzania international completed a £10m move from Genk last week and will strengthen Villa’s attacking options after Brazil striker Wesley suffered knee ligament damage.

“We’ve all seen before how expectations can be built up but not from within the building,” Smith said.

“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.”

Ex-Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater – who joined Aston Villa on loan until the end of the season – is ineligible for the tie after playing in an earlier round of the competition while on loan at Burnley.

The winner will go on to face Manchester City or Manchester United in the final, with United looking to overturn a 3-1 deficit in Wednesday’s second leg at Etihad Stadium.