Matty James
Matty James played 45 minutes for Leicester's U21 side on 18 January as he bids to return from a serious knee injuryAFP

Leicester could welcome back long-term injury victim Matty James for the FA Cup third-round replay against Tottenham Hotspur on 20 January, although manager Claudio Ranieri has confirmed he is likely to remain without the services of Jeffrey Schlupp until the end of February.

James was a regular for the Foxes during their successful escape from the Premier League's bottom three last season, but has subsequently missed out on their surprising transformation from relegation candidates to title contenders after undergoing surgery on a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament suffered against Southampton in May 2015.

A recent outing for the club's U21 side during the 1-0 defeat at Blackburn means the 24-year-old could now be fit enough to take his place among the substitutes at the King Power Stadium.

"Matty James has played 45 minutes with the reserves and could come with us on the bench," Ranieri was quoted as saying by BBC Radio Leicester at his pre-match press conference. "Jeffrey Schlupp, maybe will have to wait until the end of February. Everyone else is OK."

Schlupp also went under the knife in December 2015 after sustaining a hamstring injury in a training session prior to the visit of Chelsea. With the versatile left-winger expected to miss six weeks as a result, Leicester moved quickly in the transfer market to complete the signing of Demarai Gray from Birmingham.

Formerly regarded as one of the Football League's brightest young talents, Gray made his debut during the initial tie with Tottenham before appearing as a late substitute during the 1-1 draw at Aston Villa last time out.

He looks set to feature again during the upcoming replay, with Ranieri also endorsing the claims of former Huddersfield loanee Ben Chilwell amid reported interest from the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool.

The Leicester boss said: "Ben Chilwell and Demarai Gray played well in the last cup game and I think they will play well at King Power Stadium as well. For Chilwell it's important to play. I believe in him and I'm sure during the season he will have more chances."

Ranieri also remained characteristically tight-lipped on suggestions that Leicester have completed a deal to sign Ghana international defender Daniel Amartey. After previous reports had suggested a transfer was expected to be completed by the end of the week, FC Copenhagen released a statement on 18 January confirming an agreement had been reached that represented one of the biggest in their history.

"Who is this man?" he joked. "You know I speak only when some new players come with us. Until that, I'm sorry. Wait. Wait a little more. "

Asked he was interested in bolstering his defensive options, Ranieri said: "I want good players to improve my squad. Amartey is one of these, but I don't know."