Former Fleetwood hero Vardy's big day back in Town
Jamie Vardy did not get his reunion with Fleetwood Town on the pitch at Highbury but the returning hero certainly made a splash off it.
From watching on with a host of Town’s class of 2011-12, Facetiming club chairman Andy Pilley during the game to ringing hospitalised club president Ted Lowery to wish him a speedy recovery, Vardy made his presence felt even though he did not kick a ball.
The Foxes could have done with him on the pitch as Town outclassed the former Premier League winners to earn a goalless draw and secure a replay at the King Power Stadium on the week commencing January 15.
Vardy did stroll onto the pitch at Highbury and signed autographs for a number of young fans as he could not hide his affection for a club he scored 31 goals for to fire them to promotion in the 2011/12 season.
That form saw Leicester splash £1m on him and the rest s history as he returned to Town as a Premier League winner and England forward.
And Pilley, who could not make the game due to being stuck on holiday in the Caribbean, took to Instagram to share his Facetime fun with Vardy.
Pilley famously turned down numerous offers to keep Vardy at Town in January 2012, asking the forward to finish the job and get his team promoted.
Vardy stayed and fired Town up and Pilley joked: “Thanks to Vardy for the Facetime. At least I know he is not mad at me for keeping him at FTFC in Jan 2012 (wink face emoji).”
While Vardy shared his own snap of the exchange.
He wrote: “Gutted not to be involved on Saturday but enjoyed catching up with Andy!”
Town head coach Uwe Rosler said the chairman would have been proud of his young side’s performance.
Rosler said: “The chairman, the most important person in this football club, was not here unfortunately.
“He would have been proud of the performance of his young team and proud of our supporters and the atmosphere they created.
“I felt sorry for Andy because he would have been enormously proud by what happened today; how we played – we took them right to the wire – and the atmosphere the supporters created.
“This club is Andy Pilley and I’m very happy for him and that he can see the replay now!”
And Rosler says the Town chief will be pleased with the financial boost the replay will bring.
Though bids have been tabled for left-back Amari’i Bell, striker Devante Cole and young keeper Billy Crellin, Rosler is hopeful he has everyone - except injured Ash Eastham - available for the replay.
Nevertheless, Town are preparing to bring in experienced midfielder Toumani Diagouraga after his contract expired with Plymouth Argyle.
He said: “First and foremost Andy Pilley will be absolutely delighted to have a replay!
“He can be here and also it is financially very important for him and for us.
“I see it as a great experience; a game like that against Leicester City at their place is worth numbers of League One fixtures.
“You can learn in one game at that level so much more than you have with a lot of games in League One.
“It is a great challenge for us coaches, for our players, our organisation; the thing now is getting players in.
“Players are coming in but a lot of them are cup-tied. They will not be available for the replay.
“I hope I have the whole squad, except Ash Eastham, available for the replay and I hope the boys can go out there and enjoy themselves like they did on Saturday.”