Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has no intention of shielding striker Jamie Vardy from the rigours of the FA Cup after his recent groin operation.

The 34-year-old made his comeback after three matches out with a 30-minute substitute appearance in Sunday’s goalless draw at Wolves and Rodgers wants to use Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Brighton to sharpen him up ahead of the weekend visit of Liverpool.

“Wednesday is a big game for us. He hasn’t lost too much fitness, that’s the reality of it. He’s got a great level of fitness,” said Rodgers.

“He’d obviously had the 10 days out, he’d trained a bit with the team, and then we gave him the half-hour.

“You can see what he brings to the team. We’ll definitely get him some minutes on Wednesday, whether that’s in the first period of the game, or the second, so he’ll feature at some point.”

With a place in the quarter-finals at stake, Rodgers has to strike a balance between managing the workload of his places and doing enough to progress to the next round.

He played the likes of Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Nampalys Mendy and Ayoze Perez in the previous round against Brentford.

“We’ll make changes but it will be a strong 11. We have to consider the month of games and the early kick-off (against Liverpool on Saturday).

“I’m also going to take a look at one or two of our talented young players. I feel it’s the right time to put them in.

“With young players, you’ll never know until you put them in. It’s something we’ve done all season, but we want to get into the quarter-finals.”

Defender Timothy Castagne is not yet ready to return after a hamstring injury, which has kept him out of the last two games.

The Foxes boss added: “He is probably another week to 10 days away. He’s obviously been working well with the medical team, but he’s still a little bit of time away.”

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