Vital Leicester co-editor Simon Poole helps us preview Saturday’s clash at the King Power Stadium
Vital Leicester co-editor Simon Poole helps us preview Saturday’s clash at the King Power Stadium.
How has the season panned out for Leicester in comparison with your expectations?
It’s been amazing. Thirteen points clear of third and on the wave of a nine-game winning streak, things couldn’t be going better for Leicester City.
There is a real unity to the team, which I think has developed after what happened at the end of last season. A lot of fans didn’t really know what to expect after the Foxes hit that big slump at the end of last year, scraped into the Play-Offs and lost out in the way that they did, so this season has really exceeded expectations.
Strangely, though, there has always been an expectation among pockets of fans that Leicester should be a Premier League club, despite not having occupied a spot in the top flight for ten years, so perhaps some people don’t quite realise how impressive our season has been if you look at it that way.
Gun to your head: will the Foxes be kicking off next season as a Premier League club once more?
It would take a real meltdown to not get promoted and I don’t think that Nigel Pearson will let that happen. We’ve won 21 out of 29 games in the league so it’s difficult not to be at least a little confident about our chances.
I think 90 points will be enough for automatic promotion this season, so we’d need 24 points (or eight wins) from our remaining 17 games. That’s an average of 1.4 points per game, and we’re averaging 2.3 points per game over the course of this season.
I think Leicester and QPR will gain automatic promotion.
What has changed between this season & last?
I’d say that the reason for our success is two-fold: firstly, and I touched on this earlier, there is a real unity among the players at the moment and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.
I’ve always believed that the key to getting promoted from the Championship is consistency – not just in performance but in personnel. Pearson has had a couple of seasons with a core group of players who are now used to playing as a team.
Secondly, a few individual players have really improved their game this year. Jamie Vardy looks a completely different player this season, and has chipped in with ten goals so far.
Lloyd Dyer is enjoying the season of his life out on the wing. Ritchie De Laet continues to impress in every performance; I think that he will be the player most likely to settle into the Premier League if Leicester do get promoted.
How was the January Transfer Window for Leicester?
Very quiet. Martyn Waghorn joined Wigan on loan, and Pearson signed two players early in the window. #
Kevin Phillips joined from Crystal Palace and is already making an impact for the Foxes. Riyad Mahrez also signed last month, and everybody is very excited about what he can bring to Leicester City.
Fulham allegedly made two bids for Liam Moore which were turned down by the club.
Who will be your key man?
Although David Nugent has made the score sheet more regularly this season, I think that Vardy is proving a real handful for other teams. I can see him playing a big part in Leicester’s run-in.
Matty James has also been dominant in midfield, which often goes under the radar, but he has been integral to the team during this winning streak.
One Fox you’d swap for a Hornet & why?
I’ve always thought highly of Lloyd Doyley, and Leicester are one or two injuries away from being a bit thin at the back.
It’d be harsh to say that I’d swap any of our players on the basis of this season, but I’d like to see Jeff Schlupp get some more playing time. I think he’s a real talent but he hasn’t really had much of a look-in this season.
I wouldn’t turn down a swap for Troy Deeney, especially thinking back to his performance against Leicester in the Play-Offs last year.
Any injuries or suspensions?
Moore is out for a couple of weeks with a rib injury, but I think that’s about it. We’ve been lucky with injuries so far this season and hopefully that continues.
I have to go with a Leicester win. I’m really keen for Leicester to make it 10 in a row, as you can imagine!
I’ll say 3-1 to Leicester but I think it’ll be tight until the end.
Many thanks to Simon for his help. You can see how I answered his questions by clicking here.