Key City pair are fit to face league leaders
MADDISON AND RICARDO IN CITY SQUAD TO FACE RUNAWAY LEADERS
JAMES Maddison and Ricardo Pereira are fit to return to the Leicester City squad in a double boost for Brendan Rodgers ahead of tomorrow’s showdown with Manchester City.
Maddison has missed City’s last six games in all competitions following a recurrence of a hip problem during February’s win over Aston Villa.
But after the pain subsided and following work in the gym and out on the grass, he is available for selection when the Premier League leaders come to town tomorrow night.
However, Rodgers admitted he is not 100 per cent match fit, and so he may have to make do with a spot among the substitutes for now.
Also returning to the fold is Ricardo, the Portuguese full-back recovering from the hamstring strain that kept him out of the FA Cup quarter-final victory over Manchester United.
“He’s back in training and he will be available for the weekend, which is great news for us,” Rodgers said of Maddison.
“Clearly he’s not 100 per cent match fit but in terms of his football fitness, he looks great.
“The last few weeks he’s been working with the team, working with the players we’ve had available, and this week has stepped that up. He’s not reported any pain.
“It’s really great news for us and hopefully he can stay fit now until the end of the season.
“(Ricardo) will be available as well.
“Him and James have been on similar programmes the past few weeks. He’s trained with the group and he’s available for the squad.”
None of City’s internationals have returned with knocks so there are no fresh injury concerns for Rodgers, but he does
Barnes underwent a knee operation last month, with Rodgers initially saying he would be out for six weeks, which would be mid-April.
That may be too soon, but the plan is still to get him back before the end of the season.
As for Justin, he still has a long road to recovery following his ACL tear.
“It’s probably about three weeks since the operation,” Rodgers said on Barnes’ progress.
“He’s still got a way to go. We can’t rush it.
“Even then, when he does come back, it’s like all injured players, he’s not going to drop back into the level he was at.
“We just want to get him back training.
“He’s making good progress and working very hard.
“I’m sure at some point at the end of the season he will play a part.
“James’ leg is out of its brace now which is great news, he’s progressing very well. “He looks very good but he’s still a bit of time away. “Cengo, likewise, he won’t be available for this weekend.” Rodgers added: “Thankfully it’s all gone very well (for the internationals). I’m delighted to have the squad back again. “We’ll assess that over the next 24 hours as some of them are just coming back in, and we’ve still got a few players who won’t be back until tomorrow.
“You’re limited in terms of the work you can do in preparation for the game.
“Friday will be the first day when they’re all back.”