You may recall my blog from a fortnight ago which carried the tragic news about Jack Patrick; the 20 year old City fan who sadly passed away. This week I was honoured to attend his funeral and I was not alone. The service took place in Countesthorpe in a sea of blue tributes which spilled outside as so many people came to pay their respects; a fitting tribute to a great young man who will be sadly missed by many. And, in testimony to both Jack and his family, they have ensured that even in the face of tragedy Jack has made an impact on others by donating his organs to two donors who will now live on as a result of their generosity. Once again, I would personally like to offer my condolences to Shaun and family and thank them, and Jack, for their support and to offer them mine in return through this terribly hard time.
Obviously we were not on the pitch this weekend due to international fixtures, but the team were still playing well and it was good to see a total of nine Foxes representing their national teams: Christian Fuchs and Gokhan Inler came face to face from opposite halves as Austria faced Switzerland; Riyad Mahrez was again on fine form as he helped Algeria to secure a monumental 7-0 win over Tanzania, contributing one of the goals; Shinji Okazaki and Jeff Schlupp also helped their teams on the road to World Cup qualification while Kasper Schmeichel helped Denmark to a second leg draw against Sweden although, sadly, that was not enough to see them through to Euro 2016. Also adding to their tally of caps were Andrej Kramaric, Wes Morgan and Harry Panayiotou. Fantastic news also for ex-Leicester City Manager Martin O’Neill as he guided the Republic of Ireland to a place in France next year – a huge well done to the team and, of course, my “old gaffer”.
Sadly, the main international news was overshadowed by the tragedy in Paris on Friday evening during their friendly against Germany and I’m sure all the LCFC fans join the rest of the UK in offering their support to the victims and the two squads involved. It is of some comfort that the intended attack within the stadium was averted and potentially thousands more saved; we have a huge amount of respect to the French squad for continuing with the Wembley fixture on Tuesday in light of the circumstances.
This weekend the Premier League returns in full throttle as we head up to St. James’ Park to face Newcastle. I remember this was always a classic game, sometimes offering up a little controversy, but it is definitely another opportunity to strengthen before next week’s home match against Manchester United. Another 3 points would be a perfect starting point for the run up to Christmas and, if the lads need it, a little added confidence before we face the likes of Rooney and Co.
Don’t be fooled though, Newcastle will be a hard game. Yes, they have been struggling this season with some of their performances but you need the right mindset to face St. James’ because, believe me, you’re playing against the crowd as much as the eleven men on the pitch.
We’ve yet to have confirmation if Jamie Vardy will be fit to play this weekend after missing England’s two internationals due to injury but fingers crossed he can get back on the record-breaking run and secure his place in history this weekend. Thankfully, if he does miss out the Premier League have confirmed it won’t disqualify him from pursuing the record but, with the games we’ve got in the offing, this weekend would probably be his preference to get it in the bag.
However, his health will be Claudio Ranieri’s priority so we will await advice from the medical team and if Vardy needs a further week so be it (that’s if they can keep him off the pitch!). But the squad is still strong. In his current form, of course, Vardy would be missed but we’ve got the players we need to get the job done; we’ve got £30 million of talent sat on the bench, so every match we can put out a Foxes force to be reckoned with.
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