Foxes up against mean Boro backline

(From left) Leicester's Christian Fuchs, Islam Slimani and Robert Huth during training. Slimani may play after recovering from a groin injury.
(From left) Leicester's Christian Fuchs, Islam Slimani and Robert Huth during training. Slimani may play after recovering from a groin injury.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Leicester City will need to know how to break Middlesbrough's defence, midfielder Demarai Gray has said ahead of the two teams' Premier League clash today at the King Power Stadium.

Middlesbrough, who have 11 points and are 15th in the table after 12 games, are a point and position below their opponents. But they have conceded only 13 goals so far and only five other teams have let in fewer goals than them.

"It's going to be a tough game. They're not easy to break down and don't concede too many goals," Gray told the club website. "I saw a few of their games and they're difficult to break down but if we're on it we can break down anyone."

Gray, whose only goal this season came during their 1-4 loss to Manchester United in September, said Leicester are more confident going into the game after seeing off Club Brugge 2-1 at home on Tuesday.

"If we start like we did against Brugge then there's not much that can stop us," the 20-year-old said.

Leicester are confirmed Group G winners in the Champions League, but the reigning English champions are currently struggling in 14th place in the league with 12 points, two away from the relegation zone.

"If we get the right start and result at the weekend, then we need to keep that momentum," the former Birmingham winger said. "I played against them (Middlesbrough) in the Championship. They were one of the top teams, I know what to expect and so do the lads. It won't be an easy game but goals will be scored."

Danny Drinkwater starts his three-game ban for Leicester after accepting a Football Association charge of violent conduct.

The England midfielder was punished by the FA after elbowing Valon Behrami, something which was missed by referee Neil Swarbrick at the time, during the Foxes' 2-1 defeat at Watford last week.

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is also out with a fractured hand and, while Nampalys Mendy and Ben Chilwell (both ankle) have returned to training, they are not yet fit for the champions.

Record £30 million signing Islam Slimani is expected to return after a groin injury and Leonardo Ulloa has shrugged off a back problem.

Middlesbrough will once again be without defender George Friend, who picked up a knee injury in training before last Sunday's 1-0 defeat by Chelsea and is expected to be ruled out for around four weeks.

Brazilian full-back Fabio is expected to keep his place in Friend's absence while Dani Ayala is still absent with an ankle injury.

REUTERS

LEICESTER V MIDDLESBROUGH

Singtel TV Ch102 & StarHub Ch227, 11pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2016, with the headline 'Foxes up against mean Boro backline'. Print Edition | Subscribe