Soccer

Leicester will sign striker in summer transfer market to cover Jamie Vardy, says Brendan Rodgers


Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers will target a striker during the summer transfer window to provide back-up for Jamie Vardy.

The 34-year-old’s absence has been keenly felt recently, with the Foxes earning only one point from the matches he has missed against Everton and Leeds. Vardy is recovering after undergoing a hernia operation 10 days ago and his absence will continue when Rodgers’ side play Fulham at Craven Cottage on Wednesday night.

Ayoze Perez has been deputising while Vardy has been on the sidelines and Kelechi Iheanacho is also an option, but neither can truly fill the void left by the 13-goal top scorer.

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Injuries to Dennis Praet and Wilfred Ndidi meant signing a midfielder was the priority during the winter transfer window, although that closed on Monday night without Leicester being able to get a deal over the line. But in the summer, Rodgers will turn his attentions to strengthening further up the pitch.

“Jamie is still, when he’s fit and playing, up there with the best strikers in the league, but when you’re playing the number of games we want to play and anticipate playing, then you need more than one,” said the Foxes boss.

“We’ve got Kels (Kelechi Iheanacho) who has been a great support striker. He hasn’t played so much and perhaps hasn’t got the goals he would have wanted. But you always have to plan forward and that’s something we look at here at the club, in every position, not just the striking position. It’s constant, you always have to be planning forward and looking forward.

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“We know Jamie’s age. I still have great confidence in his fitness and his abilities but he can’t do it all on his own. We respect that. That’s something that will be continual over the next few months looking ahead to the summer market.”

Leicester’s luck with injuries is showing little signs of improving, with Timothy Castagne and Wesley Fofana added to the list as the fixtures begin to come thick and fast. Both were forced off with hamstring issues during the home defeat to Leeds on Sunday and are doubts for the trip to Fulham.

“We’ll cope with it,” said Rodgers. “The players are looking forward to it, and myself and the coaches are looking forward to the challenge of it.

“We know it’s going to be tough physically and mentally, but that’s the test you want every day. We will relish it. We want the games. Playing in Europe has been brilliant for us, and with the FA Cup, it means we’re succeeding, which is great. I would rather have that than playing once a week.”

The Foxes, fourth in the Premier League table following the loss to Leeds, have the chance to keep themselves in the title race with victory at Fulham.

Rodgers said: “Our season has been defined by some of the setbacks we’ve had. Losing some games and then regrouping, pressing the reset, getting our confidence levels high and going into the next game – and I don’t anticipate it being any different.”

PA

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