Ricardo Pereira

Ricardo & Castagne In Contention, Says Rodgers

Ricardo Pereira and Timothy Castagne are available for selection in Leicester City's Premier League visit to Aston Villa on Sunday, manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed.
More on this story...

- Brendan Rodgers delivers a fitness update ahead of Sunday's visit to Aston Villa (2:05pm GMT kick-off)
- Defenders Ricardo Pereira and Timothy Castagne could feature for the Foxes at Villa Park, Rodgers says
- The Foxes manager also confirms that James Justin's operation 'went very well' on Thursday
- City will be prepared for another busy run-in of fixtures, the Northern Irishman believes 

Speaking less than 24 hours after City's 0-0 first-leg draw at Slavia Prague in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, Rodgers provided a fitness update on his squad ahead of their return to domestic responsibilities in the West Midlands.

Ricardo missed that tie in the Czech capital in a planned effort to manage his workload, while Castagne (hamstring) has been absent for the Foxes since the visit of Leeds United last month.

"Both of those boys will be available we think," the Northern Irishman said on Friday afternoon. "They trained really well today. We’re just having to manage Ricardo, in particular, because of the length of time he was out before.

"He’s come back, he’s played in a few games, we gave him the rest and a recovery period in midweek and he should come into the reckoning for the weekend."

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Timothy Castagne
Timothy Castagne

Timothy Castagne is close to a return after a hamstring complaint.

Elsewhere, fellow full-back James Justin underwent an operation on Thursday after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Emirates FA Cup this month.

Rodgers says the procedure went as planned and marks the starting point for the former Luton Town man's recovery after the 22-year-old excelled throughout the 2020/21 campaign to date.

"It’s gone very well, so he begins his recovery process now," the 48-year-old added. "Speaking to the medical team last night after the game and today, it’s all gone well and we wish JJ a speedy recovery.

It’s a balance. Obviously, there’s a lot of games and we want to keep this consistency and keep winning, so it is a challenge, especially when you have players injured.

Brendan Rodgers

"He’s been such a brilliant player for me since he’s come into the Club and, obviously in particular, this last year, where he’s broke into the team.

"It’s devastating for us that he went and got injured, but he’ll be back stronger and fitter than he was before, I’m pretty sure."

Leicester tackle Villa three days after returning from the Czech Republic and then, on Thursday, they welcome Slavia to the East Midlands for the second leg as the fixture schedule condenses once more.

However, Rodgers insists that City relish the challenge of playing so many games and will be prepared for the tests to come as his side compete on three fronts over the coming weeks.

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Leicester City
Leicester City

Leicester City are pictured ahead of kick-off in Thursday's UEFA Europa League knockout tie against Slavia Prague at Sinobo Stadium.

"I think it’s that balance between having consistency in the team but you know, especially how we play, with energy and tempo, you need players to be as fresh as they possibly can be," he explained.

"It’s a balance. Obviously, there’s a lot of games and we want to keep this consistency and keep winning, so it is a challenge, especially when you have players injured.

"But the beauty of this group of players that we have here is they don’t moan or groan, we just get on with it. If someone’s out, it’s unfortunate, but the next guy comes in and performs to a high level.

"That’s our plan for this next period, getting through the games, each game at a time, and we’ll do everything to get the result."

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