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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Leicester should have too much firepower for Fleetwood

Jamie Vardy is a doubt on return to former club

Leicester celebrate their fourth goal in the victory at Southampton
1 of 1

FA Cup third round
BBC1, 12.45pm Saturday

Jamie Vardy needs to overcome injury to make his dream return to Fleetwood but even if the former Cod Army forward misses out there is unlikely to be a fairytale upset for the Sky Bet League One hosts against Leicester at Highbury in the FA Cup third round.

Vardy came to prominence for Fleetwood in the non-league world as he made his heartwarming rags-to-riches story from the factory floor to Premier League winner and no doubt some of the shine will be taken out of the occasion should the England hitman fail to recover from a groin problem.

However, the Foxes are well catered for in terms of forwards and should be able to overcome the third-tier opponents. Leicester are also capable of mounting a decent assault on the FA Cup.

With his side safely tucked away in mid-table and with no other outstanding commitments, Claude Puel is one of the few Premier League managers who can concentrate fully on going deep into the competition.

It will be a bonus if Vardy is available, although with Shinji Okazaki, Kelechi Iheanacho, Islam Slimani, Leonardo Ulloa and forgotten man Ahmed Musa as options in attack, Puel can hardly claim to be threadbare in the striking department.

There may also be an argument that Vardy is not best-suited to this assignment anyway as the majority of his goals this season - eight of the ten - have come against the big six when there is space to use his speed on the counter.

Whoever starts should make their class count as Leicester look to build on Monday's 3-0 win over Huddersfield, a result which included a debut for Portugal's Euro 2016 winner Adrien Silva in midfield.

Silva is expected to make his long-awaited first start and that is the kind of quality facing a Fleetwood side, who have never played a Premier League team in a competitive contest, who are 12th in League One.

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Fleetwood have conceded more goals (40) than bottom two Bury and Rochdale which is the primary reason for their negative goal difference, while two wins in the last 11 league outings also suggests the Cod Army could be on the wrong end of a battering. 

Coach Uwe Rosler is a deep tactical thinker who will enjoy the challenge of nullifying more talented opponents having struggled to overcome non-league Chorley and Hereford in the earlier rounds, but the gulf in class is notable.

Leicester's Under-23 side lost 3-0 at Fleetwood in the Football League Trophy in August but when the Foxes took the competition more seriously in the knockout stages they were rewarded with a win at Scunthorpe.

Leicester have also beaten Sheffield United 4-1 at Bramall Lane in the League Cup and should run out comfortable winners.

Leicester -1 on Asian handicap
1pt 99-100 bet365 

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Team news
Bobby Grant is unlikely to feature but Kyle Dempsey and Conor McAleny should be involved. Star man McAleny is not 100 per cent fit and Uwe Rosler will make a late decision on whether he starts.

Jamie Vardy is a major doubt and Claude Puel says he won't feature unless he is 100 per cent recovered from a groin injury. Wes Morgan and Danny Simpson are definitely out, while Rob Huth lacks fitness.

Key stat
Fleetwood have won only one of their last seven home games, losing each of the last three.

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The Cod Army could be on the wrong end of a battering
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