Dethroned Premier League champions Leicester City are still being hampered by a number of injury issues as they prepare for their penultimate fixture of the season against former title adversaries Tottenham Hotspur at the King Power Stadium on Thursday night (18 May).
The Foxes have had to cope without the services of influential captain Wes Morgan since April's Champions League quarter-final second-leg meeting with Atletico Madrid due to a hamstring injury sustained shortly following his return from a back complaint. Robert Huth (foot) also missed Saturday's clash with Manchester City, with regular left-back Christian Fuchs sliding over to partner Yohan Benalouane in central defence.
Danny Drinkwater was not expected to play again this term thanks to a thigh strain picked up in training and the lesser-spotted Nampalys Mendy underwent ankle surgery last month. January arrival Molla Wague has also been absent after dislocating his shoulder in a debut outing at Millwall in February.
Andy King replaced Drinkwater for that aforementioned trip to the Etihad Stadium, although he limped out of the second half due to hamstring trouble.
That latest blow, coupled with the fact that returning loan trio Matty James, Tom Lawrence and Harvey Barnes are ineligible for first-team duty under current Fifa rules, led Craig Shakespeare to admit that Leicester were effectively "running out of players".
Updating reporters on the latest team news in a press conference held before the visit of Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham to the East Midlands, the manager said: "Unfortunately we've still got a few injuries. Wes Morgan, Robert Huth, Danny Drinkwater, Andy King and Papy Mendy are out. Injuries have caught up with us but that means other players will get an opportunity."
While Drinkwater and Mendy will play no further part this term, Shakespeare believes that both Huth and King could be fit for a final day meeting with Bournemouth. However, it remains to be seen whether Morgan might be available to feature again before the season is through.
"Huth has a chance for the last game, as does King. I won't put a time frame on Morgan, I'll leave it to the medical department. Knowing the character that Wes Morgan is, I know that when he is ready, he'll be desperate to play."
Shakespeare also confirmed that Leicester have had no offers for Players' Player and Player of the Year double-award winner Kasper Schmeichel amid apparent interest from a host of top clubs and insisted that he had "no problem" with Riyad Mahrez's recent admission that he wants to play regular Champions League football. It seems that none of Leicester's in-demand players have yet expressed a firm wish to depart this summer.
Of a recent meeting with Leicester's owners, who it emerged today have agreed a deal to purchase second-tier Belgian outfit OH Leuven, Shakespeare said: "It was a very productive meeting. No player has expressed any desire to leave this football club, to me or the owners."
On the subject of his own future, Claudio Ranieri's former right-hand man and successor, whose contract is due to expire in June, added: "Hopefully, it will come to an end soon. We won't have to wait long."