RR: So, Champions! You did it! I'm sure you will never get sick of talking about winning the league so, now that the dust has settled, how does it feel to hear "Champions Leicester City" over and over again?
FP: It never gets old, really and, honestly, it still hasn’t sunk in. I have the Champions DVD sitting next to my TV just waiting for the right time to watch it because I think reliving the entire season back again will help it settle some more. It will be a sad day when it has been said for the last time but I think it’ll be more of a celebration than anything.
RR: It seems that Ranieri is making the Champions League his main focus this season. Fair enough, given the unique opportunity, but is the performance in the Premier League becoming a worry at all?
FP: It certainly is and I think the Champions League group Leicester was put in was as favourable as it could get. I will be interested to see how the club fares against some more difficult competition in the next phase of the tournament. As far as the Premier League is concerned, I think the club has the players and the talent to right things and will do so over the next month or so.
RR: Just how far to do you think you'll go in the Champions League?
FP: Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is as far as it goes. With a few scary second place teams a potential foe, I could realistically see the run coming to an end now. Best case? The club surprises (again) and makes it to the quarter final and then are really up against it and bow out gracefully.
RR: Jamie Vardy hasn't hit the heights he did last season, which means he's nailed on for a hattrick on Saturday. It's understandable given how unstoppable he was in the previous campaign but can you put your finger on why he's struggling for goals?
FP: Defences are just playing a bit deeper this year, which seems to stop him getting in behind and chasing down those long balls. In doing that it effectively cuts off his most dangerous assets - his pace and tenacity. He’s been blunted. Having said that, Leicester’s wide men need to find more creative ways to get him involved.
RR: How much of an effect has losing N'Golo Kante had on the team this season?
FP: Just look at the guy. He’s been fantastic for Chelsea and is a natural fit in his position. Leicester really haven't been able to find the replacement for him this season, though Nampalys Mendy is on the mend and is a strong candidate for that role. When you think of Leicester last season, it was Kante winning the ball > Drinkwater/Albrighton up the pitch to Mahrez or Vardy > goal. When you take out that first cog, things become slightly more complicated.
RR: Onto the game - who should Sunderland supporters be particularly worried about heading into the match? Who's in good form?
FP: If he can get a game, Demarai Gray has been outstanding off the bench. It’s like the clouds break and the footballing light shines down on the pitch when he touches the ball (I know, I’m gushing). He’s a tremendous young talent that the club can be very excited about.
RR: On that note, anyone in our side that you're worried about?
FP: Isn’t the answer always Jermain Defoe?
(Gav: Yes, yes it is.)
Wes Morgan and Robert Huth struggle with the pesky little forwards who can hide behind them so if Defoe finds some space and can cut them up, expect some chances.
RR: How do you think you'll line up and how do see Ranieri approaching the game?
FP: I would think a flat 4-4-2 is in the offing. They’ve found success lately just going back to basics and hoping for the best. With Islam Slimani available, I could see him returning to the starting lineup to give Vardy some power to add to his pace. That being said, Shinji Okazaki is always reliable and is a great option to pair up front.
RR: Finally, let's have a prediction.
FP: I'll have to say 2-1 Leicester, with Vardy and Mahrez getting the goals.