By 90Min
August 23, 2018

Leicester City forward Shinji Okazaki will be assessed ahead of the Foxes' upcoming fixture against Southampton, according to the Leicester Mercury.

The Japanese attacker hasn't featured in any pre-season or league fixtures since returning from the World Cup this summer, with manager Claude Puel handing him an extended break.

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However, given that Jamie Vardy won't be available for the next three matches, having picked up a red card in Leicester's clash with Premier League newcomers Wolverhampton Wanderers on the weekend, Okazaki has been thrust into contention.

The forward will need to be assessed, however, and will be required to pass a late fitness test if he is to be considered.

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Okazaki suffered an injury during Japan's World Cup run in Russia and only began training after the beginning of the season. But he could potentially return to action against the Saints if he can prove his fitness ahead of the crucial league encounter.

“We know Jamie’s quality but we have to move on and make good confidence for the other players," Puel explained. "It is a good chance for players like Kelechi Iheanacho, Demarai Gray or Okazaki if he can come back.

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“We will see with Okazaki. Perhaps he could be match fit. We will see. He has another training session tomorrow.”

Leicester only have one other player out with an injury, with midfielder Matty James recovering from a surgery performed on his Achilles tendon.

The Foxes will be presented with a tough challenge after their clash with Southampton this Saturday, as Liverpool are set to visit the King Power Stadium on September 1. 

But they will have relatively easier tests following their face off with Jurgen Klopp's troops - matches against Bournemouth, Huddersfield and Newcastle - before playing Everton and Arsenal in October.

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