Leicester will decide on Friday whether their influential centre-back Jonny Evans is fit enough to play in the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday. The Northern Irishman has been out of action since damaging his heel last Friday in the warmup before the defeat by Newcastle, which forced Brendan Rodgers to make a late reshuffle in defence.
“We’re giving him another day, he has progressed really well in the last 24 hours,” the Leicester manager said on Thursday. “We’ll see what the reaction is after that and make the final decision on Friday. We are still very positive he is going to play. It is a showpiece game so you want to be involved in those.
“In my time at the club he has been immense. If he’s not available it’ll be a big loss. We have other players to come in but if Jonny is available and fit enough it’s a huge boost for us.”
Leicester atoned for their loss to Newcastle by beating Manchester United on Tuesday, when Timothy Castagne slotted into the back three and Marc Albrighton played at wing-back. Rodgers said he will consult Evans before deciding whether the 33-year-old has recovered sufficiently to start a contest that the manager expects to be particularly demanding.
“It will just be [down to] a discussion between myself and Jonny,” said Rodgers. “You always have to speak to the players and Jonny is a warrior and if there is any way he can play – even if he is not 100% – he will be out there. It’s going to be a physical game so we need good physicality and running ability, if that’s hindered in any way it may make it difficult for him.”
Leicester are aiming to lift the FA Cup for the first time in their history. They have been to the final more times without winning it (four) than any other club. Their last appearance in the final was in 1969. “We have earned the right to be in the final and we will arrive with an opportunity to make our own history,” said Rodgers. “We feel we’re in with a chance and if we can play to our level we have a great chance.
“These weeks you always have to stay calm. This is a game where you can create an incredible legacy, you write your own stories in these games.”