Foxes hunt for impetus as testing time begins

LONDON • Leicester City's clash with Stoke City today marks the beginning of another potentially crucial month for the English football champions as they target domestic survival and shock European glory.

Eight games are ahead in a busy period for Craig Shakespeare's rejuvenated side, who continue to combine their fight against Premier League relegation with a quest for further surprises in the Champions League.

Stoke's visit to the King Power Stadium is followed by another key home game against Sunderland on Tuesday, with the Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid also looming.

Leicester winger Marc Albrighton believes his team, six points above the relegation zone, will enter the momentous period in good shape after the international break.

"We've got a lot of games this coming month that are going to be massively important to how our season shapes up," he said. "I think the break going into that is fantastic and it'll allow all the lads to be ready.

Since the controversial sacking of Claudio Ranieri, Shakespeare has overseen four wins in his four games in charge by returning to the line-up that won the club the title last season, but Albrighton believes the whole Leicester squad will be called upon this month.

"The team might change every now and again with so many games," he said. "There might be lads coming in that haven't played and we all need to be prepared for that. It's a massive month for us."

Ninth-placed Stoke have the far more modest goal of finishing above Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion, who are a place and seven points in front of them.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LEICESTER V STOKE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2017, with the headline 'Foxes hunt for impetus as testing time begins'. Print Edition | Subscribe