Seven players will miss Leicester City’s crucial Europa League tie with Napoli after a bout of Covid and illness hit the squad.
Stars including Kelechi Iheanacho and Ayoze Perez have stayed at home, with manager Brendan Rodgers confirming that a group of players had been left behind because of some positive Covid tests and some cases of illness.
City need to get a draw against the Serie A title challengers to ensure their progression to the knockout stages of the competition, while a win would see them finish top, and send them straight through to the last 16.
But now they must get the job done without a fully-fit squad available. Also left at home are Jannik Vestergaard, Daniel Amartey, Ademola Lookman, Filip Benkovic, and Vontae Daley-Campbell. Three staff have also stayed behind.
There are so far no suggestions that any of City’s fixtures, either in Napoli or at the weekend against Newcastle, will be affected by the Covid outbreak, with the squad testing regularly, including before they boarded their flight and before they left the hotel for training at Estadio Diego Armando Maradona.
One player out on the pitch was Youri Tielemans, with the Belgian midfielder fit to play his first game since the draw with Leeds a month ago.
“We have some players and staff who have not travelled,” Rodgers said at his press conference.
“We have had some positive cases and also have some people who are generally not well. We haven’t taken the risk.
“Youri has travelled, and trained very well and he will be available. Ryan (Bertrand) has been out for a week or so and he will be available for the game as well.
“You’re starting to see a few more cases in general now. For us, it’s about the health of our players and obviously travelling into a foreign country as well, we have to respect that. We still have a strong squad here, but unfortunately it’s not a fully-fit squad.
“I’m really only looking at the next fixture (and not the weekend’s game at Newcastle). Whether I have a fully-fit squad or not, that’s the focus. We just have to see what develops over the coming days.”
Rodgers still has confidence going into the game on Thursday night, knowing his team are in control of the group as its current leaders.