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Key forward ruled out of Everton clash against Leicester

By Dominic Toner

Leicester forward Jamie Vardy will be unavailable to play against Everton on Boxing Day as he serves a three-game suspension.

The 29-year-old striker has lost his appeal for a wrongful dismissal against Stoke and will serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect, as cited by Leicester’s official website.

Vardy was shown a straight red card for his two-footed challenge on Mame Biram Diouf and will now miss games against Everton, West Ham and Middlesbrough.

The Toffees travel to the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day and the defence will be pleased about Vardy’s absence.

The England international is one of Leicester’s standout players and scored a hat-trick against Manchester City on 10 December.

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Vardy had started to rediscover his form from last season, but will now face a frustrated spell on the sidelines.

Everton will still be expecting a tough match against Leicester, who fought back from two goals down against Stoke with 10 men to earn a 2-2 draw.

Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka are likely to form the centre-back partnership, with the latter available again after serving his suspension.

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri does have plenty of forward options he could use against Everton and could hand Leonardo Ulloa a rare start.

Islam Slimani, Shinji Okazaki and Ahmed Musa will also be vying for a starting position as they look to capitalise on Vardy’s absence.

Everton will be looking to respond to a narrow 1-0 defeat against their Merseyside rivals Liverpool on Monday and try to climb the Premier League table.

In other Everton news, Ronald Koeman has delivered his verdict on the team’s performance against Liverpool.