Jamie Vardy

Rodgers' Pre-Wigan Fitness Update: Vardy, Benković & James

Jamie Vardy will not feature in Saturday's Emirates FA Cup Third Round tie against Wigan Athletic at King Power Stadium, says Brendan Rodgers.
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- Brendan Rodgers discusses the fitness of Jamie Vardy ahead of Saturday's Emirates FA Cup tie against Wigan Athletic (5:31pm kick-off)
- Vardy is set to miss the clash with Paul Cook's men at King Power Stadium with a calf complaint
- Defender Filip Benković, meanwhile, will be part of the matchday squad
- Rodgers also provides an update on the condition of midfielder Matty James (Achilles)

Vardy, 32, missed the 3-0 success at Newcastle United on New Year's Day with a calf issue after also sitting out the 2-1 win at West Ham United following the birth of his daughter.

Rodgers, who revealed defender Filip Benković will be part of the matchday squad on Saturday, confirmed that Vardy is progressing well and will train with the squad shortly.

"He’s coming along very well," the Northern Irishman told the national media. "He’s done some good work with the medical team and he’ll be back out on the [training] pitch tomorrow.

"He’s not available for the game but he’ll be training with us Sunday. Everyone [else] has been brilliant; fit, recovering and all available."

Rodgers also revealed that he will make changes to his starting XI for the clash with City's Sky Bet Championship visitors, but stresses that it will be a side equipped to win the tie.

[Benković is] technically strong, he can play short, play deep, and he’s very comfortable from a technical perspective.

Brendan Rodgers

There will also be a place in the squad for Benković, the Croatian centre-back who worked with the 46-year-old during a loan spell at Celtic in the Scottish Premiership last season.

The 22-year-old made 26 appearances for the Bhoys, including four in the UEFA Europa League, and has been building his fitness with the Development Squad due to an ankle injury.

"We’ll pick a strong team to look to win the game," he continued. "We’ll make some changes after a tough game, but I always pick a team to win.

"Filip comes into the squad for the game. He’s been very unfortunate. In the summer, there were options for him to go on loan, but I needed to keep him.

"I needed four centre-halves. He’s trained well and adapted very well to not playing. We’ve put him into some of the Under-23s games, so if the time comes for him to play, he’s ready.

"He’s a very imposing presence in the game. He’s 6'4' and he’s good in both boxes and on the ball. He likes to defend forward.

"Rather than drop, he wants to push forward. He’s technically strong, he can play short, play deep, and he’s very comfortable from a technical perspective.

"It’s a great opportunity for him. He was terrific for us at Celtic, he played big games, like Leipzig, but unfortunately he got injured and never really recovered in the second part of the season."

Rodgers also provided an update on the fitness of midfielder Matty James, who has suffered from an Achilles issue over previous seasons.

The 28-year-old will feature for the Club's Development Squad in a Premier League 2 Division 1 clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Holmes Park on Friday (7pm kick-off) - live on LCFC TV.

Asked if he could appear in Saturday's FA Cup outing, Rodgers said: "No, it’s just getting him closer. Matty will play for the Under-23s tonight. That’ll be great for him, getting that feeling again.

"We can’t rush him. It’s a process for him. It’s been a tough time for him. He’s been training very well and he’ll be playing for the Under-23s tonight."

All times GMT.




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