Ranieri's Fitness Update: Drinkwater & Mahrez

Claudio Ranieri is hopeful Danny Drinkwater could return for Leicester City from the start when West Ham United visit King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off).

- Claudio Ranieri confirms Danny Drinkwater is almost ready to return from the start against West Ham United

- The Leicester City midfielder played in the second half during the 2-0 defeat by Everton on Boxing Day

- Ranieri also says he is looking for a reaction from winger Riyad Mahrez after resting him last time around

- Mahrez made a 26-minute cameo appearance for the Foxes at King Power Stadium on Monday afternoon

Claudio Ranieri is hopeful Danny Drinkwater could return for Leicester City from the start when West Ham United visit King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off). 

The combative Foxes midfielder returned from a knee injury, sustained against FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League earlier this month, at the half-way point against Everton on Boxing Day. 

Ranieri, speaking ahead of the clash with the Hammers on New Year’s Eve, revealed that he is optimistic about welcoming Drinkwater back into the fold from the beginning ahead of a crucial point in City’s season. 

Asked if the England international is ready to start, Ranieri said: “Could be. He played 45 minutes [against Everton] and he has worked well so he could start from the beginning.” 

The Leicester boss also revealed that Riyad Mahrez is in contention to return to the starting line-up after being rested during the 2-0 defeat by Everton last time out. 

Mahrez made a 26-minute cameo from the bench on Monday afternoon and Ranieri says he is looking for a positive reaction in training after a demanding Christmas run-in.

He added: “I watched him during the training session last week and he was a little tired. He worked so hard 10 men versus 11 at Stoke. 

“I decided to give him a little rest and I want to see his reaction now he feels better. I am waiting for a very good reaction. 

“Why only him? If I remember well, two or three times, he was on the bench last season too. 

“[Jamie] Vardy was on the bench this season. I am the manager, I have to choose the right moment to give him a rest. Players are not a machine you can put a coin in and they work.”

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