Leicester City should start Demarai Gray upfront in Jamie Vardy's absence

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Leicester City are just eight points away from pulling off the impossible by from winning their first Premier League title, just one year on from coming so close to being relegated.

Their last-gasp draw against West Ham last Sunday brought them one step closer to the ultimate prize, but it came at a cost with Jamie Vardy set to miss at least one match after his red card.

With the Foxes leading 1-0 in the 56th minute at the King Power Stadium, Vardy ran in behind Hammers centre-back Angelo Ogbonna and fell dramatically under his challenge, earning a second yellow card for simulation.


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Further to the one match ban he automatically received, the 29-year-old could miss the game away at Manchester United on May 1 on top of Leicester's home clash with Swansea on Sunday, after accepting an improper conduct charge for his reaction towards referee Jonathan Moss.

Vardy's suspension couldn't come at a worse time for Leicester, with a number of tough games coming up before the season is out. They still maintain a five point cushion over Tottenham Hotspur, but that could easily be wiped out over the course of the next month.

The England striker has been one of Leicester's key men this campaign, becoming the first player to score 20 league goals in a season for the club since Gary Lineker in 1985.

Leonardo Ulloa stepped up in Vardy's absence against West Ham but, despite scoring the last-minute penalty to salvage a point, shouldn't start against the Swans on Sunday.

The Foxes' success has come courtesy of fast, counter-attacking football for most of the season - something which doesn't fit the talents of the physical Ulloa. January signing Demarai Gray would be much more suited to the role, with his pace and desire to run in behind very similar to what Vardy offers.

If Ulloa were to play at the King Power Stadium, his combative style would play right into the hands of Swansea centre-backs Ashley Williams and Federico Fernandez, who themselves both stand over six foot tall.

Leicester's pace caused the Swans serious trouble in the reverse fixture at the Liberty Stadium in December, with Riyad Mahrez grabbing a hat-trick.

Although the 19-year-old Gray is not a natural striker, he has all the attributes to suit the line-up that Claudio Ranieri has built at the club. The Italian would be mad to change what has been a very successful approach at Leicester, and whilst Gray wouldn't be as clinical in front of goal as Vardy, he is the best alternative.

The next few matches are undoubtedly the biggest in Leicester's history and could be the perfect time for Gray to write his name in the history books.

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