Who will sit out Leicester versus Middlesbrough?

Middlesbrough's George Friend in action

Both sides have absentees ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash at the King Power Stadium.

Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez looks dejectedLeicester City's Riyad Mahrez looks dejected

Not many Leicester fans expected their side to live up to anywhere near the heights of last season, but they would have hoped for a slightly more impressive start to the defence of their Premier League title.

They have been firing on all cylinders in the Champions League and this week secured top spot with a game to spare, but domestically it is a different story.

Last weekend's defeat at Watford left the Foxes down in 14th with 12 points from as many games. Jamie Vardy has now gone 14 club games without a goal, and City are in need of a good result this weekend to ease any growing fears that they are in for a scrap at the bottom end of the table this season.

They will not find it easy against a stubborn Middlesbrough team. Aitor Karanka's side narrowly lost out to Chelsea last weekend, but they were unbeaten in three matches prior to that - a run which included draws away at Arsenal and Manchester City.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor KarankaMiddlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka

Boro are one place and one point behind the champions going into Saturday's match, but Leicester have been their bogey team in recent years.

The Teessiders have not won any of their last 12 matches against the Foxes, with their last victory coming courtesy of a Frank Sinclair own goal in 2002.

The only absentee for the visitors this weekend is defender George Friend, who also missed last weekend's defeat to Chelsea. 

Middlesbrough's George Friend in actionMiddlesbrough's George Friend is their only absentee this weekend

Aitor Karanka told the club website that he expects the left-back to be out for "three or four weeks, and if he is back in two weeks that is a good thing.”

The hosts will hand a late fitness test to striker Islam Slimani, who missed last weekend's defeat and the midweek Champions League win, while Claudio Ranieri confirmed to the club website that Saturday comes too soon two players who are on the comeback trail.

Leicester City's Islam Slimani scores their first goalLeicester City's Islam Slimani faces a battle to prove his fitness

“Ben Chilwell and [Nampalys] Mendy aren’t [fit] because it’s their first training session together and they’re not ready," he said, before adding that Leonardo Ulloa is recovering well from a back injury and may be in contention this weekend.

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel remains out with a fractured hand and he will be joined on the sidelines by Danny Drinkwater, who is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season at Watford.

Who will come out on top this weekend? Leave your predictions below.

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