Vital Leicester City writer Simon Poole gives us some insight on the Foxes ahead of Saturday’s game
Simon Poole of Vital Leicester helps us preview Saturday`s lunchtime clash at the Vic` between the Foxes and the Hornets?
What were your hopes, fears & expectations for the season?
There is always an air of expectation among fans that Leicester City should be at least pushing for promotion each year, and I don’t think this season is any different. Obviously we’ve had a strong start to the season, and Tuesday`s win over Fulham puts us into the hat for the League Cup quarter-final draw next week. I’m not sure anyone could have realistically asked for any more.
I worry that any dip in form could result in an overly negative reaction from our fans – some of whom are quick to call for Nigel Pearson’s head if Leicester City aren’t winning. This is a tough league to gain promotion from, though, so I think fans need to be patient. Pearson has been very consistent since his return to the club, and we are making strides with him at the helm.
Although we’re only in October, Leicester’s fast start puts the club in a tremendous position to mount a push for automatic promotion. There are some good teams in the Championship, however, who I expect will be thinking exactly the same thing. A top-six finish is certainly realistic at the moment.
Has there been much of a hangover – if at all – from the end of last season?
I don’t think so.
The play-off semi-final against yourselves was absolutely heartbreaking – probably one of the most difficult moments in recent history for the club – but that being said, I do think that even had that match gone to extra time, Watford would have gone on to win; the penalty not only came against the run of play in the match, but it was undeserved.
Leicester fans don’t hold Anthony Knockaert responsible for the loss, and he’s still an integral part of this Leicester City side.
Only minor surgery on the squad over the summer: design or necessity?
Yes, just a few additions to the squad over the summer. Martyn Waghorn, Zak Whitbread, Neil Danns and Marko Futács are all currently out on loan, while the out-of-favour Jermaine Beckford was sold to Bolton in July.
We’ve brought in Dean Hammond for some depth in midfield, while Marcin Wasilewski and Ignasi Miquel offer some extra support at the back. Gary Taylor-Fletcher gives us another option up front, too.
I don’t think we really needed to make any drastic changes. We’ve been quite fortunate in that the development of a couple of our existing players – namely Jamie Vardy and Liam Moore – has been huge over the summer and during the beginning of this season.
Vardy signed for the club last year, although the step-up from non-league football to the Championship was quite noticeable. He looks like a completely different player this season, which is a huge bonus for the club.
Liam Moore is a home-grown talent who has earned his place in our starting XI on merit – he looks so assured playing alongside Wes Morgan in defence, which has obviously helped him grow as a player.
Who will be your key man on Saturday?
I’d like to say say Lloyd Dyer, if he plays. He’s a speedy winger with pace to burn, and he only seems to improve with age. That being said, he played 45 minutes against Fulham so he might not get the nod on Saturday.
Otherwise, I’ve got to mention David Nugent, who does always seem to score against Watford!
One player you`d drive to his next club?
I don’t necessarily think he’s a bad player, but Conrad Logan, our back-up goalkeeper, has been knocking around for far too long and will never get a look-in with Kasper Schmeichel at the club. I think he’s made less than 25 starts despite being our longest standing player!
Watford player you most admire?
I really like Lloyd Doyley. Clearly a seasoned veteran at the age of 30 having racked up 350+ appearances for Watford. He looked good in both play-off fixtures last year.
Fernando Forestieri is a definite talent, too, and was wrongly denied a goal against Brighton on Monday night which, as you know, would have lifted Watford into the top six.
Any injuries or suspensions?
Ritchie De Laet is out for six weeks after undergoing surgery on his shin. He’s a big loss at right-back. Other than that, we’re at full strength.
We look good at home but we’ve lost two on the road – I’d be happy with a draw. I’ll say 1-1, with David Nugent and Troy Deeney to score.
Cheers Simon. See how I answered Simon`s questions by clicking here.