Fleetwood Town vs Leicester City
Saturday 7:45 AM ET, Live at the Highbury Stadium on Fox Sports 1
There was a lot of talk around this fixture when the balls were drawn and the match-up confirmed. The majority of which was surrounding the return of Jamie Vardy to his old stomping grounds. Many of us will remember when he was signed out of the ethereal for a cool one million pounds sterling, and perhaps then we all scratched our heads, but we’d have paid ten times that if we knew then what he would have accomplished today.
Fleetwood Town currently play in League One and are in the safety of a mid-table standing of twelfth. They sit 10 points off the relegation zone and have scored 36 goals from 26 played. Their 2-0 victory over Hereford FC ensured their place in the next round thanks to an ex Leicester man.
Cian Bolger is another name hyped up by this draw, thanks to his academy roots in Leicester City. The 2009 academy player of the year spent most of his time on loan to Bristol Rovers until Leicester offloaded him to Bolton Wanderers in 2013. He floated around on loan some more until he signed for Fleetwood Town in 2016 and has made 27 appearances since. He captained the Cod Army and scored both goals in the victory over Hereford FC. Not too shabby for a center back.
Leicester could still be without the services of Jamie Vardy should his injury still be bothering him, or Claude Puel wanting to rest him for upcoming league matches. I would expect a heavy rotation in the squad, especially after a grueling holiday season. If our recent League Cup match was an indication in how Claude will line up his cup squads, a match of arguably lesser importance given it’s the 3rd round, we could expect to see some of our U-23’s make an impact in this match.
I wouldn’t bet on Vardy starting given his injury status, but it would be nice to at least see him on the bench and maybe come on in the 90th minute to a roaring crowd. Chances to play at old clubs for players like Jamie who come from clubs down the pyramid don’t happen that often, so even if he just trots around for three minutes and touches the ball a couple of times it would be a delight for fans of both sides to enjoy.
There are no guarantees in the FA Cup. Every team is geared up and ready for this competition and to think Fleetwood Town would be different would be a mistake. Leicester have the class to tinker and experiment with the squad’s formation to rest some players and start some others, but they should look to score early and often. A 2-0 lead at half will lead to a 3-1 finish in favor of the Foxes and on to the next round.