Vardy may miss out on fairy-tale return to roots

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy celebrating his opener at Anfield last Saturday. The England international's exploits at then non-league side Fleetwood, where he scored 31 goals in 36 appearances during the 2011-2012 season, caught the attention of the
Leicester striker Jamie Vardy celebrating his opener at Anfield last Saturday. The England international's exploits at then non-league side Fleetwood, where he scored 31 goals in 36 appearances during the 2011-2012 season, caught the attention of the Foxes and the rest is history.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Jamie Vardy's romantic return to Fleetwood Town for an FA Cup third-round clash today is under threat due to injury.

The Leicester striker is in a race to recover from a groin strain to face the club that took a gamble on him when they were a non-league outfit, paying Halifax Town a transfer fee of £150,000 (S$269,826) and putting Vardy on £850-a-week wages.

Fleetwood have since risen to the third-tier League One and are currently in 12th place, while Vardy is an England international with a Premier League winners' medal.

Leicester manager Claude Puel told a pre-match press conference: "We will see. If he is not 100 per cent, then we will not risk him.

"He is not training with the team and is just doing some exercises in the gym so for the moment, it is not good for him."

Vardy has scored nine goals in 21 league games for eighth-placed Leicester this campaign but was sidelined for the club's 3-0 league win over Huddersfield on Monday after picking up an injury in last weekend's 2-1 defeat by Liverpool.

The 30-year-old left Fleetwood for Leicester in 2012 after scoring 31 goals in 36 games and helping the club gain promotion to the English Football League.

Fleetwood manager Uwe Rosler said Vardy, who has yet to score in the FA Cup for the Foxes after eight appearances, remains a role model for his players.

"I think for the club that we are and our DNA, Jamie is the perfect inspiration for our young players to try to emulate his career and his way is what we are about," he said.

"I have never worked with Jamie but obviously, the way he plays he is right up my street.

"To have someone who plays so wholeheartedly, with such a directness, with such a running ability and goal-scoring ability would be very nice to have in a team."

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2018, with the headline 'Vardy may miss out on fairy-tale return to roots'. Print Edition | Subscribe