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Leicester can cope without banned Vardy - Simpson

Vardy was sent off against West Ham. Credit: PA

Jamie Vardy has been one of the players of the season, but Danny Simpson is confident his absence will not derail Leicester's title bid.

Vardy will miss next weekend's clash with Swansea after bring sent off against West Ham and things could get even worse after being charged by the Football Association with improper conduct for his furious reaction.

The England striker and Leicester have until 6pm on Thursday to respond to a charge that could lead to an additional ban, but Simpson is confident the Foxes have the wherewithal to cope with the striker's absence.

"Vardy has been one of the best players in the league," the full-back said.

"But Leo (Ulloa, who scored the equaliser against West Ham with a stoppage-time penalty) came on and got a point for us - that was a lot of pressure for anyone.

"Other players have scored in the team and before last week Vards hadn't scored for five or six games, so we'll deal with it.

"We've got other players who can come in. Just look at the game - Jeff (Schlupp) came on and won us a penalty and Leo came on and scored.

"Dema (Demarai Gray) has come on in the last few weeks and showed for a young lad his maturity and he's an attacking threat. So I'm sure we'll cope with it well."

West Ham chiefs felt 'threatened' by Leicester fans

West Ham co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold. Credit: PA

West Ham co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold have complained of being targeted for abuse by Leicester supporters in Sunday's draw at the Walkers Stadium.

The 2-2 result came as a blow to Leicester's Barclays Premier League title ambitions, with only a late penalty from Leonardo Ulloa sparing the Foxes from defeat.

Leicester led through Jamie Vardy's goal, but the striker was later sent off and Andy Carroll's penalty drew the teams level before Aaron Cresswell fired West Ham ahead. Carroll's challenge on Jeff Schlupp was punished with the stoppage-time penalty from which Leicester forced the draw.

Sullivan told the Daily Mirror: "We didn't stay to applaud our own players off as we felt threatened. We've spoken to Leicester and they've told us they would look into it."

Gold wrote on Twitter: "Elderly Leicester fans turned into monsters when WHU went 2-1 up then returned to nice old people when LCFC equalised."

He added on Tuesday: "I want Leicester to win the PL and I am pleased for their fans but their behaviour towards us was unacceptable."


Leicester season has clouded West Ham success - Bilic

West Ham are still in for a shout with top four. Credit: PA

Slaven Bilic admits Leicester's "fairytale" season has put West Ham's success in the shade.

The Hammers are still fighting for a top-four finish and a place in the Champions League with six games remaining.

But on Sunday they head to the King Power Stadium to take on a Foxes side on the verge of an incredible Premier League title, just a year after looking like certainties for relegation.

"People recognise we are having a good season, we are playing good football, and they are praising us," said Hammers boss Bilic.

"But what Leicester have done puts our successful season a little bit in the shadows.

"That's normal. It's like a fairytale and they deserve all the credit they are getting. It is unbelievable."

Leicester fan Friend taken off ref duties for Spurs game

Leicester-based referee Kevin Friend has been switched from taking charge of Tottenham's Barclays Premier League match at Stoke on Monday night.

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited said the change was made to avoid adding an "extra scrutiny on the refereeing appointment" around Friend, who lives in Leicester and has been to games at the King Power Stadium.

Friend is from Leicester. Credit: PA

Leicester lead the table by seven points ahead of Spurs with five matches remaining.

While there is no suggestion of any question over the official's integrity in his impartial position, the PGMOL, which does not select Friend for matches involving his hometown club, felt given the circumstances it was sensible to move him to another fixture.

A statement read: "PGMOL has made the decision to change the referee for the match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur as Kevin Friend, initially selected for the game, is from Leicester and has attended matches at Leicester City in a personal capacity.

"Given the timing and context of this match, it was felt unnecessary to add extra scrutiny on the refereeing appointment.

"Neil Swarbrick will referee the match and Friend will referee Newcastle United vs Manchester City."


Starting XI's: Sunderland v Leicester

Mahrez: Leicester aren't feeling any pressure at the top

Leicester forward Riyad Mahrez has insisted the team are under no pressure as they chase a first top-flight title in the club's 132-year history.

Mahrez is likely to be named Player of the Year. Credit: PA

The Algeria international had not expected at the start of the season that, with nine games to go, the Foxes would be looking down from the top of the Barclays Premier League, with a five-point advantage over the following pack.

As he nears the end of a remarkable season - which has seen him score 15 league goals and be strongly tipped to be crowned PFA Player of the Year - he brushed off suggestions that he was looking ahead to a possible transfer to a bigger club.

"I'm not thinking about that," he said. "The last games we need to keep working hard and see what we can do. I'm really not thinking about this. I have three more years in Leicester and then we'll see."

But he did admit he did not start the 2015/16 campaign anticipating Leicester would be top of the table in March.

"I wasn't expecting that, but that's now the reality," he said. "I'm happy to be here. I'm pleased."

Asked whether he was feeling the pressure, he replied: "No pressure. We are playing as always. We will just see what can happen for us.

"We just work hard for everyone. We are just a good team, good team-mates and we are doing well. We have to keep going."

Increase in flu cases in Leicester area this month

There has been an increase in the number of flu cases in February in the Leicester area according to the lead nurse for infection prevention at Leicester's hospitals.

Three wards at Leicester Royal Infirmary have been closed after a swine flu outbreak affected 14 cancer patients.

We have seen an increase in the number of flu cases in February, in both the community and across our hospital sites.

Fourteen patients on three haematology wards at the Leicester Royal Infirmary have developed symptoms that have been confirmed as flu.

All necessary precautions were taken and these patients have been isolated to avoid an outbreak.

– Liz Collins, lead nurse for infection prevention at Leicester's hospitals

Visitors with flu-like symptoms have been asked to stay away from hospitals to avoid passing their infections to patients.

Swine flu outbreak shuts hospital wards

Three wards have been closed at a hospital after a major swine flu outbreak affected 14 cancer patients.

Leicester Royal Infirmary is trying to contain the spread of the virus, which was responsible for the flu pandemic in 2009/10.

The H1N1 swine flu strain is one of the dominant flu strains this winter and the current winter flu jab offers protection against it.

Glenfield Hospital in the city is also treating three seriously ill patients with swine flu, who are receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment.

They were brought to Leicester from other parts of the country.

All 14 patients remain in isolation either in side rooms or on bays, a statement from the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said.

All patients are currently being treated with antiviral medication.

Staff are following protocols for preventing the spread of infection, including wearing masks, gowns and gloves and washing hands regularly.

On Monday, it was thought three people on the wards might have flu, and because these patients have very little immunity, it was decided to swab all patients and 14 were confirmed as positive.

– Dr Philip Monk, consultant in communicable disease control with Public Health England in the East Midlands
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