Leicester defender Wesley Fofana could make his long-awaited return from a serious leg injury this month.
The French centre-half has not played a single game this campaign after suffering a broken leg and ankle ligament damage in the club’s final pre-season match against Villarreal.
Fofana’s rehabilitation is nearing its end following his operation almost six months ago and the aim is for the 21-year-old to begin training with the rest of the Foxes squad in 10 days’ time.
“He’s doing terrific and he will look to join the squad the week beginning February 14, which is great news for us. He’s working very hard with our medical team and sports science team,” said manager Brendan Rodgers.
“He’s on this final period now before he rejoins the main squad and then we will just assess it from there and see where he is at in that first week and then hopefully, somewhere in February, he will be close to playing.
“He has worked ever so hard for six months – almost to the day since his operation – and he’s recovered and for a young player I have been really, really impressed by his mentality and his attitude to his recovery.
“He has been super professional and worked very hard and we just can’t wait to have him back with the team again.”
Rodgers admitted his team have missed Fofana during his absence.
“I think you can see his importance, you’ve seen what we’ve missed throughout the season,” said the Leicester boss.
“Those final few pre-season games, especially in the Villarreal game, you saw the quality in him and the quality he gives the team.
“So to have that injury to such an important player for us, especially given how we play, we like to play with a high line and be aggressive and defend forward and we brought him in for that reason.
“To miss someone of that quality and with that personality in our team, even though he is so young he plays with such maturity, that was a huge blow for us.”
Along with Fofana, Jamie Vardy, Jonny Evans, Timothy Castagne and Ricardo Pereira remain out injured for Leicester’s FA Cup fourth-round clash against midlands rivals Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho are available again after their Africa Cup of Nations campaigns ended, but Nampalys Mendy is still out in Cameroon with his Senegal side set to contest the final this weekend.