Return of Schmeichel, Drinkwater to boost Foxes

LONDON • For Leicester City, any good news is welcome at present, so a double dose would mean joy for Claudio Ranieri.

The defending but faltering Premier League champions head for Stoke City today with last weekend's stirring victory over Manchester City already a fading memory, following a costly midweek defeat by Bournemouth.

But the return to action of goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and midfielder Danny Drinkwater could give Ranieri's men the perfect pick-me-up ahead of their visit to the Potters, who have recovered after a poor start to lose only two of their last 11 matches.

Schmeichel seems almost certain to return in place of Ron-Robert Zieler, who has filled in unconvincingly for eight games while the Dane nursed a broken hand.

Drinkwater, who, like Schmeichel, was a star of last season's shock title triumph, could also be back to hand his side a boost following a knee injury.

If they return, the pair will do so to a team whose away form has ended any hopes of defending the title they stunned the world by winning last season.

Their record of one point from eight away games is the worst in the top flight this season, while they have lost four of their last six league outings at home and away.

Ranieri, however, has said that the only remedy is to work harder.

"I know only one medicine - to work, work and work. This is the right medicine to try to help my players. My players are working very well in training," the Italian said.

He added that he will not stand in the way of any player who wishes to leave the club during next month's transfer window.

Striker Leonardo Ulloa, winger Jeffrey Schlupp and young midfielder Bartosz Kapustka have all been linked by the British media with moves away from the King Power Stadium next month.

"I don't like to maintain players who are unhappy," Ranieri said.

"This is my point of view. If someone is not happy then they should come to me and speak and we will see what is best for the club."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2016, with the headline 'Return of Schmeichel, Drinkwater to boost Foxes'. Print Edition | Subscribe