Brendan Rodgers

Rodgers Provides Pre-Watford Fitness Update

There remains several fitness concerns on the agenda for Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers ahead of Saturday's Emirates FA Cup tie against Watford at King Power Stadium.
More on this story...

- Brendan Rodgers provides a fitness update ahead of facing Watford on Saturday
- Leicester City tackle the Hornets in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup (3pm GMT kick-off)
- Jamie Vardy will be out until March with a hamstring injury, while Jonny Evans has undergone surgery
- Several other players are also yet to return from injury or illness after the win over Liverpool

The Foxes, holders of the competition, have a number of players out across all areas of the squad. New updates on Friday morning, ahead of the third-round clash with Watford, included the news that Jamie Vardy is set for up to eight weeks out, while Jonny Evans has undergone an operation.

Rodgers, who was speaking from inside the King Power Centre at LCFC Training Ground, also revealed that no players who missed the 1-0 victory over Liverpool on 28 December will be ready to return to action on Filbert Way this weekend - while some others are out now too. 

Daniel Amartey, Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi and Papy Mendy are also out of the country for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations.

"No – there’s no other players who have been out who will be back for the weekend," he said. "The Liverpool win was a super human effort by the players, with everything surrounding it. What they put into the game was incredible. It tells you everything about the spirit and resilience of the team.

"We’re going to need more of that going forward because we need to keep that spirit and mentality. With a bit of luck, we’ll get more wins."

It’s been unfortunate for [Jamie Vardy], but we’re looking at up to eight weeks, so he will be out for a period of time. It's at the higher end of his hamstring. You’re looking into March for Jamie.

Brendan Rodgers

Vardy may not be ready to return to a Foxes line-up until March, but Rodgers was pleased to report that no operation is required for City's No.9.

"Jamie will be out for a number of weeks," he explained. "It’s been unfortunate for him, but we’re looking at up to eight weeks, so he will be out for a period of time. It's at the higher end of his hamstring. You’re looking into March for Jamie. He doesn't [need an operation], that was the only good news from it."

Evans, on the other hand, has undergone an operation on his hamstring, potentially putting him out until April, while defender Çağlar Söyüncü's anticipated return is sooner. Ryan Bertrand is also not yet in contention.

"Jonny Evans has just had an operation, so he will be April," Rodgers continued. "With his hamstring and whatnot, he needed that. For Söyüncü, you’re looking towards Burnley (on 15 January) for Çağs. It's good news with that. He will hopefully be back for then.

"[Bertrand] is still not ready. He’s got an ongoing issue with his knee, so he’s getting that looked at by a specialist."

If we get [James Justin] back, it’s a huge, huge boost for us. It’s been a long road so we have to be careful with him.

Brendan Rodgers

James Justin, though, is scheduled to feature for the Club's Development Squad in the coming week as he looks to continue his rehabilitation from an ACL injury. The England Under-21s international has been absent for Leicester since February 2021.

"JJ will play an Under-23s game," the 48-year-old said. "All being well, he’ll come through that and we’ll look at it going into next week. If we get him back, it’s a huge, huge boost for us. It’s been a long road so we have to be careful with him.

On Patson Daka, meanwhile, Rodgers added: "We’re looking more towards Burnley for him. Hopefully he’ll be back then."

Boubakary Soumaré will be absent this Saturday, though, through illness and Luke Thomas is also set to miss the tie. Rodgers is waiting on an update on Timothy Castagne and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall too.

"Bouba will be out," the former Liverpool and Celtic manager revealed. "He's out for a little period. He's not available for selection [through] illness. "Timothy Castagne is a question mark at the moment. He hasn’t trained. He came in today and we had a look at him. He should be okay.

"Luke’s not available and there’s a doubt around Kiernan. He felt a tightness in his calf. He’s played a number of games so we have to make sure that doesn’t rumble on."

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