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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Leicester should have too much strength in depth for Blades

Foxes have quality options

Craig Shakespeare has worked wonders in his short time at Leicester
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EFL Cup second round
Sky Sports Football & Main Event, 7.45pm Tuesday

Leicester stunned the football world by winning the Premier League in 2015-16 but their best chance of silverware this season is in the knockout competitions and they can make a positive start by beating Sheffield United in the EFL Cup at Bramall Lane.

Neither team is likely to be at full strength. United manager Chris Wilder made 11 changes for the first-round tie at home to Walsall and watched his side scrape a 3-2 victory.

It was a far from convincing performance from the Blades, who trailed 1-0 to their Sky Bet League One opponents after 73 minutes.

Their late rally was assisted by the introductions of first-team regulars Chris Basham and Ched Evans and it would be a surprise if a stronger starting line-up was not employed to cope with the far stiffer test of facing Premier League opposition.

However, Wilder will have to make do without two key members of his team: centre-back Richard Stearman and centre-forward Leon Clarke.

Stearman, a summer capture from Wolves, hobbled off with a hamstring injury during last Tuesday's 2-0 loss at Cardiff and is not expected to be back in action until late October.

Clarke was sent off after an altercation with Barnsley's Angus McDonald at the weekend and his subsequent three-game ban could hand Evans the chance to establish himself in the side once again.

Since returning to the club Evans has made four substitute appearances but he looks set to lead the line and will be desperate to make his mark in a high-profile televised fixture.

This contest is not top of Leicester's agenda but it offers a chance for some of the Foxes' fringe players to stake a claim for more regular involvement.

Out-of-favour attackers Demarai Gray, Leonardo Ulloa and Islam Slimani come into contention and will be eager to impress with the end of the transfer window approaching.

Like most top-flight teams, Leicester can afford to carry a big squad and have a lot of talent in reserve.

Even a second-string Foxes 11 would probably have the edge in terms of quality and the Premier League side look a solid bet at odds-against to win the tie inside normal time.

1pt 11-10 general

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Team news
Sheffield United
Leon Clarke starts a three-game ban after his red card at the weekend and Richard Stearman (hamstring) faces six to eight weeks on the sidelines.

Jamie Vardy (ankle) and Vicente Iborra (groin) are doubts and Kelechi Iheanacho (toe) will not be considered until the weekend. Robert Huth (knee) is out but Danny Drinkwater (thigh) may return.

Key stat
Leicester are unbeaten in their last four matches against Sheffield United. 

This contest is not top of Leicester's agenda but it offers a chance for some of the Foxes' fringe players to stake a claim
E.W. Terms
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