Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is struggling with a hip injury ahead of Saturday’s trip to Newcastle United, where he could equal Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10 consecutive Premier League matches.
Vardy missed England’s friendlies against Spain and France after injuring his groin and hip in a fall during Leicester’s 2-1 win over Watford last time out.
The Premier League’s top scorer has 12 goals to his name this season and has found the net in each of Leicester’s last nine matches, closing in on former Manchester United striker Van Nistelrooy’s marker.
“Today [Thursday] he trained a little and tomorrow I hope he can continue to train,” said Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri. “On Saturday, if he’s fit, he’ll play.
“I speak all the time with the doctors and the physio and if they tell me he’s 100 per cent, he’ll play.
“[But] I don’t want to risk a player for one match and lose him for a month.”
Newcastle defender Daryl Janmaat is determined to stop Vardy if he features.
“We’ll be doing everything so that he won’t be scoring against us,” he commented. “But we know that won’t be easy – he’s so quick.
“He’s scored nine in a row and he will be looking to continue that against us. We hope we can stop him.”
Newcastle manager Steve McClaren, meanwhile, believes his side have benefited from the opportunity to reflect on their recent form during the international break.
A 1-0 win at Bournemouth left Newcastle on a high going into the two-week break from Premier League action, and they entertain Leicester having lost only two of their last six games, despite sitting fourth from bottom.
In the weeks leading up to the international break, McClaren saw his charges perform well in their 2-2 draw with Chelsea and start brightly in a 6-1 defeat to Manchester City, before storming to a 6-2 victory over Norwich – Newcastle’s first Premier League win of the season and McClaren’s first as manager.
He said: “I think the [international] windows have been good for us.
“We’ve looked, reviewed, settled. And after the last one we looked and said: Right, Chelsea and Man City – we looked at the team for those two games and we’ve seen enough.
“We’ve stuck with that since and we’ve kind of settled down.”
Newcastle will be without Rolando Aarons (ankle) and Jack Colback (knee), as well as long-term absentees Tim Krul (knee) and Steven Taylor (hamstring), but McClaren could have Gabriel Obertan (hamstring) and Rob Elliot (thigh) available for selection following their recovery from injury.
Apart from long-term knee injury victim Matty James, Vardy is Leicester boss Ranieri’s only doubt as they go in search of their fourth consecutive Premier League win.
Key Opta stats:
– There have been three players sent off in the last three league meetings between these two sides (Newcastle’s Mike Williamson and Daryl Janmaat last May and Richie Wellens for Leicester in January 2010 in the Championship).
– The Magpies have kept two Premier League clean sheets in a row. They last went three top-flight games without conceding back in November 2014.
– Steve McClaren’s charges have managed just one goal in total in their last three Premier League fixtures.
– The Foxes have scored the highest percentage of second-half goals of any team in the Premier League (72 per cent).
– Georginio Wijnaldum has scored a league-high four headed goals from just four headers on target in the Premier League this season.
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