The significance of a positive result for Leicester City against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday is imperative in the onerous task of achieving Champions League qualification next season.
Leicester have never lost to Brighton in the Premier League – a run consisting of five wins and two draws – and with a wealth of teams attempting to finish in the top-four, a return to winning ways is paramount.
The Foxes face the prospect of entering a three-game winless run in the division for the first time this campaign, but with an away record bettered only by Manchester City, there will be belief that they can extend to 13 matches away from the King Power Stadium.
For The Seagulls, there is undoubtedly frustration that a number of promising performances have not been converted to victories, and defeat at The AMEX would condemn the south-coast outfit to three successive defeats in the league for the first time since November 2019.
City manager Brendan Rodgers will be avidly devising an effective way to combat the host of injury issues the club are currently dealing with, as no less than seven first team players are unavailable once again.
Individuals such as Harvey Barnes and James Maddison – simply sublime in exhibiting their innate offensive abilities this season – remain out, whilst influential defensive figures such as James Justin and Jonny Evans are also side-lined.
Rodgers confirmed in his pre-match press conference that none of the players affected are expected to feature against Brighton on Saturday, but that Ayoze Perez and Dennis Praet might both return from their respective injuries against Sheffield United next week.
Rodgers utilised a three-man backline against Burnley in the 1-1 midweek draw, with this formation likely to continue as the selection issues remain prevalent.
Brighton boss Graham Potter has a number of injuries to contend with himself; forward Aaron Connolly suffered a back spasm in training on Thursday, whilst the prodigious full-back Tariq Lamptey will see a specialist following a hamstring issue.
Brighton: Sanchez; Veltman, White, Dunk, Burn; Gross, Bissouma, Alzate; Trossard, Mac Allister; Welbeck.
Leicester: Schmeichel; Amartey, Fofana, Soyuncu; Ndidi; Pereira, Tielemans, Mendy, Castagne; Iheanacho, Vardy.
Ones to Watch
Jamie Vardy is currently enduring a testing period in front of goal, with a solitary league goal – coming in the 3-1 over champions Liverpool - across his last ten appearances in the competition.
But, with multiple injured players having an effect on the teams attacking impetus, Vardy will be eager to step up and provide the offensive assurances his team craves in the absence of individuals such as Barnes.
Vardy boasts an exemplary return of five goals and three assists in his last six Premier League games against Brighton and will be confident of aiding his team further in the pursuit of a desired victory.
After yet another commandeering performance against Burnley in midweek, Kasper Schmeichel will be an individual worth keeping an eye on as he combines his aerial athleticism with his dominating authority to keep Leicester sturdy and resolute from a defensive and organisational standpoint.
The Danish shot stopper has excelled this season, keeping nine clean sheets in 27 appearances as Leicester challenge once again for continental qualification.
Ahead of the pivotal encounter, Rodgers spoke on a number of topics, with a notable discussion relating to the arduous challenge of maintaining an exemplary season and preventing a repeat of last season’s calamitous late dip in form.
“No. It’s totally different. We’ve had much more to deal with in terms of our European games and the difficulties we’ve had around injuries. I’m very proud of the players. We have a real exciting end to the season. We have to deal with what comes our way and win the next game.
“We’re in a really good position and we have to reinforce that every time we play. Where you are, you deserve to finish in that position. We look to have a good attitude in our work.”
How to Watch:
The Premier League fixture is available to watch on: Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Ultra HD from 20:00 on Saturday, 6th March.
Alternatively, you can follow the live-text updates on the VAVEL website and the Leicester City VAVEL Twitter page.