RF: The results so far are justifying the sacking of Ranieri but did you agree with the decision? Do you feel like he'd earned the right to be given more time?
SE: I don’t think anyone would argue that he earned the right to more time, he won the Premier League with Leicester City. Leicester City! Having said that, and given the unbelievable contrast in performances since his dismissal, it seems that something he was doing wasn’t working. Leicester could not allow themselves to be relegated a year after winning the title so a change needed to happen.
RF: Craig Shakespeare has given the team some much needed freedom and it's steering you clear of relegation, would you like to see him given the job on a full time basis or would you prefer the club to seek out a more "high profile" manager in the summer?
SE: Honestly, I’d be surprised if he even wants the job on a full-time basis. That staff has been in place through thick and thin he works well in a role that puts emphasis on coaching and man management. If a more high profile name is brought in, I’d ensure that he consults with Shakespeare directly to ensure they remain squarely on the same page. I’d like to see him be given a chance on a permanent basis, I just don’t know if it works for both sides or not.
RF: In Europe, you've been handed a pretty tricky tie against Atletico Madrid but you've made it this far and Leicester love to upset the odds. Fancy your chances?
SE: Couple the way the club has been playing of late, Atletico’s questionable form and the pressure they are under to not lose to Leicester, yes, I do fancy our chances. The squad is built well to compete in a competition such as this and can cause the Spanish side problems at all the right times. I look forward to a very spirited tie with more surprises for the Foxes.
RF: Onto the game, and Wes Morgan has been ruled out through injury. How much of a loss will his influence be and does it harm your chances at all?
SE: I love Wes, big part of the club, the captain and all that. But despite being an afterthought in the squad’s plans for so long, Yohan Benalouane has filled in admirably and has provided many of the same qualities that Morgan possesses. Leicester seem to have returned to their stingy defensive ways and the French center back has been able to fill Morgan’s shoes without much of a drop-off.
RF: Sunderland are on a huge goal drought and not creating many chances for Jermain Defoe at the minute, while Leicester have sorted themselves out defensively. Can you give us any reason to be positive? Any weaknesses we could exploit?
SE: To completely contradict my last response, Benalouane would be the weakness worth exploiting. He’s played very scarily this season and despite strong performances, could be had if attacked properly. A forward like Defoe is exactly the type that could cause him troubles with his sneaky pace and intelligent runs. Go straight at him, that could be trouble for the home side.
RF: How do you Shakespeare approaching the game and how do you think he'll line the team up?
SE: Leicester have relied on its bread and butter to find success of late and don’t expect that to change against Sunderland. Very traditional 4-4-2 with Vardy and Okazaki up front. He may rotate Okazaki for Slimani given the short turnaround but everything else should be business as usual.
RF: Finally, let's a have a score prediction...
SE: Leicester’s form is very strong lately and Sunderland have lost the goal-scoring touch they so desperately need right now. I’m going with another positive 2-0 win for the Foxes.