Claude Puel has confirmed that Riyad Mahrez will once again be unavailable for Leicester’s Premier League clash with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The Algeria international has refused to return to training with Leicester since failing to a secure a deadline day move to Manchester City, with his last competitive appearance for the Foxes coming during the 2-0 victory over Watford on January 20.
Puel admits that Mahrez is not yet ready to return to the first-team fold, but he believes it is important that the 26-year-old does reintegrate with the rest of the squad sooner rather than later.
“I think Riyad will be not available for the Saturday game against Manchester City,” said Puel.
“I hope he can get his head right and come back with us and work hard. The best way is to come back and enjoy his football.”
Leicester have failed to win either of the top-flight games they have played during Mahrez’ self-imposed exile, but Puel believes his side are capable of causing a surprise against the runaway Premier League leaders this weekend.
“It is a good challenge. A fantastic and exciting challenge. We have no pressure against this team, they are the favourites,” the Frenchman added.
“It is a good challenge to play our football. Of course it is difficult against this team. To show if we have improved from our last game against this team.”
The Foxes lost on penalties the last time they faced City in the Carabao Cup two months ago, and they are priced at 13.00 to secure all three points on Saturday, while the Citizens are available at 1.20 and the draw is on offer at 7.00.