Leicester V Hull at The King Power Stadium : Match Preview

03 March 2017
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Leicester speculation is much ado about nothing for Shakespeare

Craig Shakespeare refuses to look beyond Saturday's crucial clash with Premier League relegation rivals Hull as speculation builds regarding the Leicester job.

Shakespeare, assistant to former boss Claudio Ranieri, is in caretaker charge following the Italian's sacking last week and is currently trying to stake his claim for the position on a permanent basis.

The 53-year-old won his first game against Liverpool at the King Power Stadium on Monday night and can further underline his credentials with another home victory against Hull.

Should he secure another three points it could make it difficult for the club's Thai owners to ignore him as a candidate, but Shakespeare is not getting carried away.

"I sat down on Wednesday with the vice-chairman and the director of football and it was just a chat to ask if I would take the game for this weekend, which I agreed to do," he said.

"I've been asked just to take the next game and we will sit down again after that. The remit is to prepare the team for Hull and see if we can get the same result (as against Liverpool) and then we'll sit down after that, and I'm quite comfortable with that."

Asked if he would like the job permanently, Shakespeare said: "I've enjoyed working with the players but results are the be-all and end-all and the focus is on Hull. We must put back-to-back wins together.

"I think it's for other people to decide what qualities I've got and whether they are the right qualities."

Reports this week linked former England manager Roy Hodgson with the position but Shakespeare insists he is not privy to who the club's owners might be speaking to.

"I don't know and I'll leave that to the powers that be," he said when he was asked if he knew who was under consideration.

"I think it's pure speculation, a lot of names have been mentioned and I wouldn't want to speculate on names."

Monday's 3-1 win against Liverpool ended a five-match losing run in the Premier League and was a first victory in seven league games, moving the Foxes out of the relegation zone.

Hull defender Harry Maguire could overcome a knee injury and be a surprise starter on Saturday.

Maguire needed lengthy treatment during last week's home draw against Burnley before going on to win rave reviews from head coach Marco Silva with another commanding display at the heart of defence.

Silva went further this week by declaring Maguire is an England international in waiting and said he hopes the 23-year-old will be included in Gareth Southgate's squad for the friendlies against Germany and Lithuania later this month.

"We'll see (on Friday)," Silva told a press conference when asked if Maguire would be fit to face Leicester at the King Power Stadium.

"We have one more training session to see, but I think he'll be available for the match."

Maguire, who made one appearance for the under-21s against Northern Ireland in 2012 while still at hometown club Sheffield United, has been tipped by Silva to become the Tigers' first full England international.

"Of course it's not my decision, but first of all I hope so," Silva said.

"What I've seen of Harry in the last two months, I think he'll play as soon as possible in the national team.

"I've seen good skills, fantastic character. Maybe he's not listened the last few years, but I'm sure he'll have a great career.

"When I think of one centre-back to play at a high level I look to Maguire and see so many things to play at this level.

"Of course, he needs to improve many things, the position and to understand better some moments of the game.

"But I believe he will have a great career."

Hull, who have taken eight points from six Premier League games under Silva, are three points behind Leicester in the table.

With a home game against another relegation rival, Swansea, following at the KCOM Stadium next week, the trip to managerless Leicester carries huge significance.

Striker Dieumerci Mbokani (hamstring) and Evandro (calf) are out, but Silva will be boosted by the return from suspension of Sam Clucas, while winger Lazar Markovic is also available after a knock ruled him out against Burnley.