Leicester will not risk Vardy against Birmingham

Striker is Leicester’s top scorer this season with 17 goals. (AP pic)

LONDON: Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is stepping up his recovery from a calf injury but Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth round meeting with Birmingham City will come too early for him, manager Brendan Rodgers said.

The 33-year-old, Leicester’s top scorer this season with 17 goals, missed the 1-0 Premier League defeat at Norwich City on Friday with a low-grade calf strain.

“He won’t be available. He’s making good progress but our target will be Aston Villa (in the league) on Monday and he should be fine for that,” Rodgers told reporters.

Vardy was in blistering form at the start of the season with 17 goals in 18 league matches but has not scored in his last nine games in all competitions.

Leicester have managed only three wins in 10 league matches since Vardy’s last goal, which came in a 3-1 loss at champions Manchester City on Dec. 21.

Rodgers backed his team to respond against Championship side (second tier) Birmingham in the FA Cup.

“The responsibility is with everyone to score… there’s no doubt we have to play better. This is an opportunity to reach the quarter-finals,” he said.

Leicester are third in the league table with 50 points from 28 games, seven points behind second-placed City.