Wilfred Ndidi could make a surprise return to Leicester City’s line-up for the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at Aston Villa.

Ndidi underwent knee surgery on January 9 after damaging his meniscus in training, and City manager Brendan Rodgers suggested the defensive midfielder would be on the sidelines for four to six weeks.

But, the 23-year-old was back on the training pitch last week as City prepared to face Burnley, and Rodgers said after the 2-1 defeat to the Clarets that he is hopeful Ndidi will return in time for the huge clash at Villa Park.

“He’s back out on the pitches now which is great news for us,” Rodgers said. “The importance of him is huge for this team.

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He’s recovering very well. He’s worked with medics. He’s been out on the field the last few days so we’ll see how he is.

“I think it will be too soon for him to be back for Wednesday’s game [at home to West Ham] but certainly by the weekend [at Brentford in the FA Cup] and I would say for Aston Villa, hopefully, he’ll be available.”

”In Ndidi’s absence City have gone three games without victory, drawing 1-1 at home to Villa in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final before the back-to-back Premier League losses to Southampton and Burnley.

”In the league, City average just 0.91 points per game in the matches Ndidi has not started. With the Nigerian in their line-up, that figure is 1.48 points per game.

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