Marc Albrighton believes Aston Villa can look to Leicester for inspiration in their scrap for Premier League survival.
Lifelong Villa fan Albrighton will be back at Villa Park on Saturday with the high-flying Foxes knowing his former club remain mired in a battle to remain in the top-flight.
Remi Garde’s side picked up just their second win of the season with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Tuesday night but they are still eight points from safety at the bottom of the division.
Leicester survived from a similarly precarious position last season and have since thrived, with Claudio Ranieri’s men only being kept off top spot by goal difference after a midweek win at Tottenham.
And Albrighton feels Leicester’s improbable escapology act can be used as a blueprint for Villa’s own attempts this time around.
“They will probably take heart from what we did last year,” he said.
“I’m sure that will get mentioned around Bodymoor Heath training ground that we managed to do it last season, so why can’t they pull it off this time?
“They will take confidence from the win against Palace and come Saturday it is going to be a tough game. Just because they are bottom of the league there are no easy games to be played.”
Albrighton, 26, came up through the ranks at Villa but completed a move across the Midlands to Leicester when he was released at the end of his contract.
He has since established himself in Ranieri’s side but admits it still pains him to see the current plight of his favourite team.
He said: “It is not nice at all, I’m a Villa fan since I was born and it was drummed into me.
“It is horrible to see where they are and I would love nothing more than them to escape it. I know it is not looking great for them, it is looking quite bleak, I’d love them to escape it but obviously after Saturday is out of the way.
“I hope they have got what it takes and I hope they have the characters in the squad. They have made a lot of changes since I was there, there are a lot of new faces so it is difficult for me to see.
“I know from the lads I speak to who are still there that they will give their all and hopefully that will get them out of it.”
Asked if a top-four finish for Leicester and survival for Villa would be the perfect end to the season, Albrighton replied: “That would be nice, it would keep a lot of people happy in my family!”
Meanwhile, Ranieri expects the winger to be in the mood to show the powers that be at Villa Park that they were wrong to release him back in 2014.
“Maybe he is more motivated. I will speak with him,” the Italian said.
“I love Marc because he is fast, has good skill and suddenly he can do something special. He can make a cross, a last pass, a goal. I’m waiting for him to score again.
“It is important he is very attentive in our defence. Against Tottenham I asked something different from him and he was fantastic during the match.
“I was a Roma fan and when I played against Roma I wanted to win. After the match I’d say ‘what a pity’ but I am very happy.”