Rodgers welcomes ‘huge boost’ as Vardy returns for Leicester

News Desk
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers and Jamie Vardy speak

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has welcomed the “huge boost” provided by Jamie Vardy’s return as the Foxes seek a first Premier League win of 2022 against Burnley.

Tuesday’s fixture at Turf Moor has been rearranged from January, when Burnley asked for a postponement due to Covid cases and injuries in their squad.

The Clarets had also sold striker Chris Wood to relegation rivals Newcastle the day before and had taken just 11 points from 17 games, but have since signed Wout Weghorst as a replacement and taken seven points from their last three matches.

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That means Sean Dyche’s side are just six points behind 13th-placed Leicester but Rodgers is not contemplating being dragged into the relegation scrap.

“Respectfully, we try to look forward. It genuinely is that,” Rodgers said.

“We’ve played three to four games less than other teams so my focus is only looking forward. We have to win games to work our way up the table and that’s our only notion.

“I’ve never felt any pressure from the club. They understand the path we’re on. The journey has been great. We’ve hit a period where we’ve had inconsistent results but there’s been mitigating circumstances and they understand that.

“The ownership have been first class. They have been empathetic. But we know we want to improve. They have been around it long enough to understand that progress is not linear.

“There are sometimes breaks within that but it also makes us even more determined to get our rhythm back and get back to winning games.”

Vardy has not played since December 28 due to a hamstring injury, but remains the club’s top scorer with 11 goals in 22 appearances in all competitions.

“It’s always tough to be without good players and good characters as well and Jamie is a top player,” Rodgers added.

“He’s a legend in the Premier League, for everything he’s done for Leicester and his story, but he’s still got plenty of running left in him. It’s just great to have him back available. That’s a huge boost for us, of course.”

Rodgers insists he has not been surprised by Burnley’s recent form, which has seen them draw with Arsenal and Manchester United and win 3-0 away at Brighton and 1-0 at home to Tottenham.

“Burnley always impress me,” Rodgers added. “I never feel they get the credit for what a good football side they are.

“They’re physically strong and competitive, as you need to be at this level, but they’ve also got some very talented football players and have brought some in that are very hungry to play at this level.

“The striker (Weghorst) has come in, he’s 6ft 6in but a good technician, his goal at Brighton was a really good finish. He’s a Dutch international, so he knows the game.

“(Connor) Roberts who has come in from Swansea is aggressive, wants to get forward, he’s an international player and they’ve got other players who have been there a long time.

“I know Jack Cork well, he’s a brilliant professional whether he’s playing for the team or not. James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, these are all proven players in the Premier League that have retained their hunger and fight to stay there.

“They are an excellent side and it’s going to be a real test for us.”