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Smith hopes in-form Vardy can help Leicester beat the drop

Leicester manager Dean Smith says his team have had to play more to Jamie Vardy’s strengths as they battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

The veteran forward has scored in each of the past two games, draws against Leeds and Everton, to help the club edge out of the relegation zone after Vardy went 19 matches without a goal.

Smith, who replaced Brendan Rodgers last month with a brief to keep 2016 champions Leicester up, said Vardy was “firing” ahead of Monday’s trip to mid-table Fulham.

“People will have seen in his last few performances the hunger and desire he has got, the work rate, the fact his legs are still there and his brains are definitely still there,” Smith said on Thursday.

The former England forward, 36, has scored 136 Premier League goals in his career but has found the net just three times in the league this season, during which he has struggled to hold down a starting spot.

Smith, who has a contract until the end of the season, added: “I don’t think we have had to rebuild his confidence, we have had to play more to his strengths.

“We know he is an intelligent player with his runs, but he needs the ball to go into the right areas with his runs.

“We have to have a supply line to him and he has to make the runs as well.”

Leicester, with four games to play, are 16th in the Premier League table on 30 points, outside the drop zone only on goal difference.

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