Leicester vs Birmingham: Predicted Foxes XI

Enzo Maresca will almost certainly heavily rotate his team for this Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round tie against Birmingham City. Here, we predict the starting XI.


Squad rotation is the key to the Cup selection for Leicester
Squad rotation is the key to the Cup selection for Leicester / Visionhaus/GettyImages

The brutal slog of the Championship season determines that the Leicester boss will make wholesale changes to his starting XI for this weekend's FA Cup tie. The league remains the priority and the Foxes face another game, against Swansea City, on Tuesday night followed by five games in February including a tough away fixture against promotion rivals Leeds United.

 The Foxes squad is being stretched to the limit at the moment, with no new signings yet. Although it seems Stefano Sensi may be heading to the East Midlands soon and, as reported by Foxes of Leicester, Coventry’s Callum O’Hare is also of interest to City. Luke Thomas is heading out to Middlesborough on loan after retuning from his spell at Sheffield United. Wilfred Ndidi remains out injured and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, who only started the Ipswich game on Monday night after passing a fitness test, surely won’t be risked.

Kelechi Iheanacho is still with Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations, Patson Daka is only just back from representing Zambia, Harry  Souttar is with Australia playing in the Asia Cup and Abdul Fatawu is serving the second of his three match ban following his sending off at Coventry. If we add the fact that Maresca, as he did in the Third Round tie at Millwall, is likely to rest key players - such as Hermansen, Vestergaard, Fars and Winks – the team that will walk out at the King Power stadium on Saturday all but picks itself.

In goal will come Jacob Stolarczyk. Conor Coady and Ben Nelson will reprise their central defensive partnership from the New Den. At full back, Callum Doyle is likely to be chosen ahead of James Justin. I suspect Hamza Choudhury will occupy the Winks role in midfield which means either Justin or Ricardo Pereira at fullback.

In midfield, Choudhury’s number eight partners are likely to be Yunus Akgun on the left and, possibly, Dennis Praet on the right. On the other hand, Maresca has been reluctant to play the Belgium international since he came back from injury and so it is possible Justin will play at right back leaving Pereira to move forward into midfield.

Up front, Jamie Vardy is likely to get a start after his welcome return from injury whilst Marc Albrighton might get a run out on the right and the youngster Wayna Marcal on the left.

 Predicted XI

Jacob Stolarczyk

James Justin

Conor Coady

Ben Nelson

Callum Doyle

Hamza Choudhury

Ricardo Pereira

Yunus Akgun

Marc Albrighton

Jamie Vardy

Wayna Marcal

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