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Claudio Ranieri hopes N'Golo Kante gets hero's welcome on Leicester return
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri hopes N'Golo Kante will get a hero's welcome when he makes his first return to the Foxes.
The midfielder quit the champions for Chelsea in a B#32million deal in the summer after helping them win the Premier League last season.
He was the only key member of the title-winning team to leave the King Power Stadium following their shock success as Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Kasper Schmeichel signed new contracts.
Kante returns with Chelsea in the third round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday and Ranieri is looking forward to their reunion.
"I am very happy and I will give to him a very warm welcome back and I am sure also our fans they must appreciate what he did last season and give him a warm welcome," he said.
"I will be very happy if our fans clap him at the beginning and afterwards he is an enemy.
"They must understand that when a big team arrives it is difficult to say no. For this reason I say thank you to Jamie Vardy and his family, and to Riyad when they decided to stay here. For us it was important to maintain everybody."
Schmeichel will sit out again as he recovers from the concussion he suffered on Friday which saw him miss Saturday's 3-0 win over Burnley.
Ron-Robert Zieler will start in goal but Matty James and Nampalys Mendy (both ankle) are not yet fit.
Eden Hazard, meanwhile, is confident Antonio Conte will inspire Chelsea to recover from their first defeat of the season.
The trip to Leicester is their first game since a 2-1 loss at home to Liverpool on Friday condemned Conte to his first competitive defeat since his appointment as the club's manager.
Hazard appears rejuvenated under the Italian, and after a disappointing 2015-16 season he believes Conte's communication and motivation skills are key.
"He's a top guy, he tries to speak a lot with the players, to talk a lot, and we are pleased to work with him," the 25-year-old told Chelsea TV.
"He has the passion to do his job. He gives everything on the bench and we try to give everything on the pitch.
"He's a top manager, he's a top man.
"During games I try to stay focused, but sometimes when I watch the game the day after (on television) I see him. He's a little bit crazy sometimes on the bench."
Conte's arrival has also led to a resurgence in the form of Diego Costa and was followed by the summer recruitment of David Luiz and Michy Batshuayi, among others.
Ankle and anterior cruciate ligament injuries to John Terry and Kurt Zouma mean Luiz is likely to retain his place after making his first appearance back at the club against Liverpool.
Conte could yet decide to rotate his side and hand appearances to fringe players like Cesc Fabregas and Pedro, and Hazard is optimistic about the squad's depth.
"Everybody is happy to see (Luiz) back," he said. "On the pitch he is a warrior. He brings that mentality. He wants to win everything. This is what we need.
"Diego is (also) a top player, he is on the pitch to score goals, he has the desire to score a goal every game and it's always good to play with him. He's sharp.
"(Batshuayi) is learning a lot. He is trying to speak English. I am helping him. I don't know if I am a good teacher but I try. He gives everything on the pitch and in training. In him and Diego we have two very good strikers."