Matty James could be included in the Leicester City U23 squad which takes on Sheffield United this evening in the Checkatrade Trophy, according to sources close to the Premier League champions.
The 25-year-old missed the Foxes’ amazing title victory last year with a serious knee injury, but is back in Claudio Ranieri’s thoughts and could step up his recovery by featuring at Bramall Lane.
The Foxes are almost guaranteed to leave their biggest names - including Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez - in the Midlands for the Trophy opener.
But with three overage players, and a goalkeeper, permitted in the Under-21 squad, Ranieri and his staff could decide to give some of those on the fringes of first-team action some minutes on the pitch.
Leicester’s development squad manager, Steve Beaglehole, said: “It’s brilliant to be involved and it’s been talked about quite a lot recently because the competition aims to improve the pathway to first team football.
“We’re very excited about it and we experienced what it’s like to play a League One side when we took on Chesterfield in pre season.
“Sheffield United are a big team and they’re looking to get back into the Championship. They have a great ground with a really passionate crowd and you want your young players to experience that.”
United are also bound by competition rules dictating their team selection but Chris Wilder, the Blades boss, is still expected to shuffle his pack somewhat.
The back five from Saturday’s first win of the season against Oxford could remain, although Chris Hussey was replaced at half-time after another difficult afternoon, with Jake Wright in particular standing out on his United debut.
His partnership with the solid James Wilson, who scored United’s winner after Billy Sharp’s earlier equaliser, seemed sound enough but Wilder has bemoaned his side’s lack of time on the training ground before now and is likely to partner the two together once again.
“We’re not sure what type of side Leicester will be putting out,” Alan Knill, Wilder’s assistant, said.
“But for us, it’s another game and that means we’ll be taking it seriously. We’ve got one win under our belts and now we want another one, hopefully that was something we can build on.
“That’s the attitude we want to take into this one. It’s another game for us.”
Leon Clarke, who came off the bench late on against Oxford, could be rested once again after Knill admitted the striker “couldn’t have started” on Saturday.
“He’s got something ‘pinching’ in his foot,” Knill added.
“I don’t think that’s probably the correct medical term. But that’s what it feels like, apparently. Leon played at Millwall the week before, he put himself up and on the line.”