Sunderland v Leicester preview: Nampalys Mendy might make return
Last Updated: 03/12/16 3:08pm
Nampalys Mendy is in contention to make his return from injury when Leicester travel to Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday.
The summer signing has not played since suffering an ankle injury on his debut against Arsenal in the Foxes' second match of the season.
But he has been back in training, and manager Claudio Ranieri said: "I think Mendy is very close because now he's trained with one week without pain and he's good. Now he needs to take more time to improve his fitness but he's good.
"He's ready and works with us. He made all the training sessions pain free this week. That is good. He lacks stamina because it's not possible 90 minutes, but he's getting better."
Without Mendy, the Foxes have struggled in the league this season, particularly away from home, where they have picked up just one point from six matches.
David Moyes was nominated for the Manager of the Month award after Sunderland won two of their three games in November.
But the Black Cats slipped to the bottom of the table after Swansea's dramatic win over Crystal Palace last weekend.
Sebastian Larsson could make his first appearance of the season for Sunderland after recovering from knee surgery in the summer.
Jan Kirchhoff, who has been out of action since suffering a hamstring injury in October, could also return, but Fabio Borini, Lee Cattermole, Paddy McNair, Lynden Gooch and Jack Rodwell are all out.
Leicester have no fresh injury concerns as goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel remains sidelined with a hand injury.
Left-back Ben Chilwell has returned to training and might be in contention.
Sunderland's last win over Leicester City in the Premier League came back in the 2001/02 season, drawing two and losing two since then.
Leicester City have lost just one of their last nine Premier League games against Sunderland (W5 D3), keeping six clean sheets in that time.
Jamie Vardy scored three times against Sunderland last season in the Premier League - against no Premier League side has he scored more goals.
Leicester haven't been leading away from home at any point this season in the Premier League.
Leicester's return of 13 points is the second worst record after 13 games of any defending champion in top-flight history (assuming 3pts/win); after Ipswich in 1962/63 (11 points).
Jermain Defoe (75 per cent) has had a hand in a higher share of his team's league goals this term than any other player in the Premier League.
Paul Merson's prediction
This is where Leicester's players have been for the majority of their careers: in the lower end of the Premier League and the Championship.
I don't see their position in the league as a surprise. They had an unbelievable season last year where everything went their way - and fair play to them - but what they're doing now is reverting back to their normal levels. It's like a horse that wins the Grand National. They win it and then they can't even win a race at Plumpton.
This is a big match and I think Sunderland will win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (6/1 with Sky Bet - Most popular Super 6 selection: 25 per cent predict 1-1)
Champions Leicester are fractionally odds-against at 6/5 with Sky Bet as they travel to Sunderland on Saturday. The Foxes twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Middlesbrough last weekend and it's 12/5 that this one ends up all square. Sunderland can be backed at 9/4 for the win, while the Black Cats to win to nil can be backed at 5/1. Jamie Vardy and Islam Slimani are both priced at 9/2 to score first, with home hitman Jermain Defoe the same price in that market.
Sunderland v Leicester is part of this weekend's Soccer Saturday Super 6 line-up, with £250,000 up for grabs. Enter your predictions here.