Opposing View: Leicester City

NOT ALL SMILES: Nigel Pearson has steadied the ship at Leicester but they are not yet making waves in the Championship.
NOT ALL SMILES: Nigel Pearson has steadied the ship at Leicester but they are not yet making waves in the Championship.

A SEASON which promised so much for Leicester has ended prematurely with a major bout of mediocrity.

Promotion seemed essential, even certain, in pre-season but the Foxes have been stuck in mid-table all term, never venturing any higher than sixth place.

Nigel Pearson’s arrival in November appeared to bring some much needed stability to the King Power Stadium where the cash was splashed, particularly during Sven Goran-Eriksson’s ill-fated reign.

But he has been unable to spark strong form with the longest unbeaten sequence sitting at four matches.

Things appear to have settled down at home recently and the Foxes are unbeaten in six with four wins.

Surprisingly Leicester do have a decent scoring record at home despite winning only half of their games there.

Pearson is known for his tactical detail and does tend to alter his approach for each game, particularly once he has had the chance to mould a squad in his own image which he has yet to be afforded at Leicester.

In his time with the Foxes, Pearson has regularly adopted a 4-4-2 formation and it is likely Rovers will see this approach on Saturday.

Leicester’s recent central midfield pairing has been particularly combative with Sol Bamba and Danny Drinkwater occupying the roles.

Bamba has been shifted from centre half after returning from Africa Cup of Nations duty, with Pearson bringing in Wes Morgan from Nottingham Forest to partner Sean St Ledger.

Pearson also signed Drinkwater from Manchester United in the last transfer window.

The 22-year-old is a box to box midfielder with his skill on the ball matched with tough tackling that makes him and Bamba an imposing pairing.

Much of the creativity is left to the wide areas with old fashioned winger Lloyd Dyer on one flank and the highly promising Ben Marshall on the other.

Both are blessed with pace and trickery and are the main providers for strike duo David Nugent and Jermaine Beckford.

Full backs Lee Peltier and Paul Konchesky also provide support for Dyer and Marshall and Rovers should be wary of the overlap.

Neither Nugent nor Beckford have set the scoring charts alight this season but their past exploits should not be forgotten.

Rovers’ best work in recent months has come on the counter attack with the emergence of Fabian Robert continuing that trend.

It would be in their interest to continue with this approach, exploiting the space left when Leicester’s full backs venture forward.

ONE TO WATCH: Ben Marshall

IT seemed as though Leicester had bought one for the future when they snapped up young Ben Marshall from Stoke City in January – but the future appears to be now.

Winger Marshall is packed with pace and trickery, has excellent delivery and comes with a long throw.

The 20-year-old impressed while on loan at Sheffield Wednesday who were keen to keep him, as were Stoke but Marshall was not content with waiting for his chance at the Britannia Stadium.

RECENT FORM

Mar 31 L v Peterboro (a) 1-0

Mar 27 D v N Forest (h) 0-0

Mar 24 W v Hull (h) 2-1

Mar 21 D v Blackpool (a) 3-3

Mar 18 L v Chelsea (a) 5-2

Mar 13 W v Birmingham (a) 3-1

HEAD TO HEAD

Played 29

Rovers wins 6

Foxes wins 15

Draws 8