Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson urges Jamie Vardy deputy to take his chance
Nigel Pearson has challenged whoever replaces Jamie Vardy in Leicester City's attack against Birmingham City this afternoon to take his chance.
Vardy is not expected to start after missing training through illness since the club's last Championship game two weeks ago
It means that Martyn Waghorn, Jeff Schlupp or Marko Futacs are in the frame to step in.
Vardy has scored four goals in 11 appearances this season and forged a strong partnership with David Nugent in recent weeks. But Pearson is confident that, whoever he picks, will rise to the challenge.
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"As always, if a player misses out then it is an opportunity for someone else," said Pearson.
"We haven't made too many changes this season because we have been playing well. There have been a number of players who have had to be patient for their opportunity.
"I think when players do get their opportunity, the ball is in their court.
"They have to maximise that opportunity by playing as well as they can and keeping their place. That is what it is all about.
"There is no point talking about competition for places if players don't step up and take that opportunity."
City travel to St Andrew's looking to extend their five-game winning streak. In contrast, the Blues have been struggling and sit just one place above the relegation places.
Lee Clark's men are still reeling from a humiliating 5-0 home drubbing against Barnsley, and were also beaten at home by Huddersfield Town. But Pearson doesn't think they will struggle for long.
"I don't expect them to be down there for too long because they have too many good players and I know Lee very well from my time at Newcastle," he said.
"It is a bit of a surprise to see them in the position they are in.
"We have to make sure we go there and put on a good performance ourselves and play near to our max as we can.
"We want to improve our performances if anything. It is a dangerous situation to go to places like Birmingham, with the players they have got, and expect to have a comfortable game. It won't be. But we have to make sure they don't have an easy time at home.
"First and foremost, I want to see from my players the performances levels we have reached so far.
"We have been in every game we have played this year. We have won seven and lost three and, in those three defeats, we could have got something out of each of them. Those are the standards we have to maintain for the whole season.
"There will be a time when things don't quite go our way but, if we play in a fashion in which we are always in the game, then that is the mentality we have to take us forward."