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Shakespeare to take Leicester reins for rest of the campaign

By Samuel Lovett

Craig Shakespeare is set to be confirmed as the new Leicester boss for the rest of the season.

The 53-year-old stepped in as caretaker manager following Claudio Ranieri's dismissal last month and has since gone on to impress after overseeing back-to-back Premier League wins over Liverpool and Hull City.

Shakespeare and his men travelled to Dubai on Sunday for a warm-weather training camp and it's understood he held talks on Monday with Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, club chairman, and Aiyawatt, his son.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, Republic boss Martin O'Neill and former England supremo Roy Hodgson were cited as potential replacements to Ranieri but Shakespeare has convinced the owners to hand over the reins for the season.

His first game in charge as manager will be Leicester's second-leg last-16 Champions League clash with Sevilla next week, as they look to overturn a one-goal deficit, before attention is turned to the side's Premier League survival fight with 11 games of the season left.

After Saturday's win over Hull, Shakespeare said: "I haven't had an opportunity to think about Sevilla yet. The remit was first Liverpool and then Hull. I've made sure that I've asked the players just to focus on a game at a time."

• Under-fire referees Anthony Taylor and Kevin Friend will both be involved in FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

Taylor is to take charge of Arsenal's clash with Lincoln at the Emirates, with Friend taking up the fourth official role earlier in the day when Middlesbrough host Manchester City.

Taylor was criticised after awarding a penalty to Burnley for handball during their 3-2 defeat at Swansea when the offender was Clarets striker Sam Vokes, while Friend did not see key incidents in Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.

That was a few days after Friend joined Taylor on the latter's stag do in Marbella. It understood they received permission to go from the Professional Game Match Officials Limited.

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