Danny Simpson is confident Jamie Vardy’s enforced absence will not derail Leicester’s title bid – despite hailing him one of the players of the season.
A remarkable campaign hit a bump in the road on Sunday as Claudio Ranieri’s men fought out a frantic and fractious 2-2 draw at home to West Ham.
The most high profile of a string of controversial decisions by referee Jon Moss was the 56th-minute second booking dished out to goalscorer Vardy for simulation.
The 29-year-old will now miss next weekend’s clash with Swansea and things could get even worse after being charged by the Football Association with improper conduct for his furious reaction.
Vardy and Leicester have until 6pm on Thursday to respond to a charge that could lead to an additional ban, but Simpson is confident the Foxes have the wherewithal to cope with the striker’s absence.
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“Vardy has been one of the best players in the league,” the full-back said.
“But Leo (Ulloa, who scored the equaliser against West Ham with a stoppage-time penalty) came on and got a point for us – that was a lot of pressure for anyone.
“Other players have scored in the team and before last week Vards hadn’t scored for five or six games, so we’ll deal with it.
“We’ve got other players who can come in. Just look at the game – Jeff (Schlupp) came on and won us a penalty and Leo came on and scored.
“Dema (Demarai Gray) has come on in the last few weeks and showed for a young lad his maturity and he’s an attacking threat. So I’m sure we’ll cope with it well.”
Simpson concedes the one-match ban, never mind an additional suspension, is “unfortunate” for both Vardy and Leicester, but was keen not to join the chorus of criticism aimed at referee Moss.
The Leicester right-back instead preferred to see the 2-2 draw as a point gained rather than two lost, having recovered from late Andy Carroll and Aaron Cresswell goals.
“Horrible,” Simpson said when asked how the match was to be a part of. “But I think we showed our togetherness and team spirit and fight.
“We could have got our heads down when we went down to 2-1 and accepted it, but that’s not us and that’s not our group.
“I think psychologically that proved to the world how together we are.
“Psychologically I think it’s a massive point. I think we proved we’re not easy to beat.
“We want to win every game, we want to keep clean sheets – that’s the team we are. It didn’t happen, but to draw in the last second of a game gives you a boost.”