'He was our champion' - Ranieri urges Leicester fans to receive Kante warmly

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The France international is set to make his first appearance at Leicester since moving to Chelsea, and the Foxes boss wants a positive reception

Claudio Ranieri hopes Leicester City fans give N'Golo Kante a warm reception should he make his first appearance at the King Power Stadium since leaving for Chelsea.

Kante was an integral part of Leicester's unlikely Premier League title triumph last season following his arrival from Caen, with his form earning a place in the France squad for the first time.

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The 25-year-old agreed a switch to Chelsea ahead of the 2016-17 season but was an unused substitute when Antonio Conte's side produced a dramatic comeback to win an EFL Cup meeting at Leicester 4-2 last September.

Should Kante feature in Saturday's Premier League encounter, though, Ranieri hopes the fans do not react negatively.

"I hope our fans give to Kante a warm welcome as he was our champion. It's important to remember what he gave to us," said Ranieri.

"Chelsea started not so well but soon Conte understood his team and they have made a good first half of the season.

"We respect them a lot but we are ready to fight and ready to try to win."

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Leicester could have Andy King and Jamie Vardy available after they missed the 2-1 FA Cup win over Everton last weekend through illness, but Algerian duo Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani remain unavailable due to their international obligations.

Ranieri is hopeful that Ahmed Musa – scorer of both goals against Everton – and new signing Wilfred Ndidi can continue to impress.

"Andy King is okay. Jamie Vardy trained this week and Leo Ulloa we will have to wait on a little more," said Ranieri.

"I think Ndidi may play. I wanted this kind of performance [against Everton] and he'll get better the more he plays.

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"In our first match without Mahrez and Slimani we won and we have to show the same attitude and strength against Chelsea.

"It's a big opportunity for Musa. In the last month he has changed. He's another player who understands the league better."

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