Pep to rest Bellingham for Leicester cup tie

Jude Bellingham.
Jude Bellingham.

I want him to have a complete fresh start for Saturday.

Pep Clotet.

Pep Clotet has confirmed that Jude Bellingham will be rested for Wednesday's Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round tie against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

The 16-year-old has been one of Blues' stand out performers this season, but Blues' Head Coach feels that having played 34 games already this campaign he wants to give him additional time to recover from his exertions and not overplay him.

The midfielder was an unused substitute in Saturday's away draw against QPR, but Clotet expects him to return for the Championship home game against Reading at the weekend.

"Jude is not going to play," said Clotet.

"He has played a lot of games and sometimes young players take longer to recover and they get minor knocks.

"I want him to have a complete fresh start for Saturday.

"I know that will disappoint some fans that he will not play against Premier League opposition tomorrow, but it's my responsibility to help Jude get game time in the Championship.

"I want to respect recovery protocols and make sure he develops properly."

Blues have had to manage Bellingham's workload and training regime carefully all season. The physical and mental aspects he has had to deal with at such a tender age is very much uncharted territory.

It's about Bellingham's longer-term well being and Clotet pointed out that, with the squad relatively thin as well as currently having to contend with injuries, the same has been done in recent weeks with the likes of Jake Clarke-Salter plus Maxime Colin, Gary Gardner and Ivan Sunjic in the previous rounds of the competition.

Five changes were made to the side that faced Coventry City in the original Fourth Round tie.

Meanwhile, Clotet confirmed that Scott Hogan will make his first FA Cup appearance for Blues against the Foxes.

The loanee was ineligible to play against Coventry.

"I'm going to play Jukey and Scott Hogan up front. I don't have anyone else," he said.

Elsewhere in the squad, Jeremie Bela (hamstring) is likely to be out for a month, Jacques Maghoma (thigh) is still working his way back to fitness and Josh McEachran (ACL) is sidelined for the long-term.