WILL PHILLIPS JOIN?

The manager of Leicester City, Nigel Pearson, has admitted that he is thinking about the English player Kevin Phillips who is a free agent at the moment.

Phillips had signed for Crystal Palace on a permanent basis at the start of the ongoing season, but, he couldn’t make his mark there. Eventually, the Eagles released him a few days ago.

Since the time he left Crystal, he is being linked to the Championship table toppers.

Pearson has managed Phillips in the past as well when he was in charge at West Bromwich Albion. The 40 years old striker had played pretty well under his guidance there. The tuning between the two is pretty good and that’s why the Foxes boss is interested in landing the veteran at the King Power Stadium.

When asked if he is interested in Phillips, Pearson said, “In the last match that he had played under me at West Bromwich Albion, he had found the net thrice. So, I guess it would not be that smart if I don’t show any interest in him at all. Yes, I am a bit interested.”

When asked about not including a couple of his key players in the starting XI for the FA Cup game against Stoke City last Saturday, Pearson said, “As a manager, you need to rotate the players to make sure that they don’t get mentally drained out. You can’t go into every game with the same starting XI.”

Leicester lost that match by 2-1 and got knocked out of the tournament. They could have suffered a bigger defeat as they were down by 0-2 with just a few minutes to go, but, David Nugent found the net for them towards the end and diminished the margin of defeat.

Wood will fight for Leicester City chance

Chris Wood, the striker for English Championship club Leicester City has stated that he is still learning his trade and striving for more perfection as he targets more starts under manager Nigel Pearson as the Foxes look to mount yet another challenge to get back to the Premier League.

The 21 year old has made only three starts for the Foxes this season as he finds himself behind experienced heads like David Nugent and Jamie Vardy in the striking options for Nigel Pearson. And speaking to BBC Radio Leicester, the youngster stated that he knows he still has to do the basics and make absolutely sure that his game is perfect.

He knows that he has to do his work on the pitch adding that he would love to get a start, get on the score sheet and take things forward from there. But he admitted that as long as that doesn’t happen, he will have to put his head down and work hard in order to get in favor of the boss and given the chance, he will try and help Leicester City in their fight for promotion.
Nugent and Vardy have already got eight and four goals respectively and that makes things very difficult for the youngster who will not only have to displace two experience players but also, two players who are in fine form.

But Wood mentioned that he has never been one to shy away from a challenge and he knows that apart from working hard, he will have to patient for his chance.

The striker moved to Leicester City in January 2013 from West Bromwich Albion and is considered among the brightest prospects in English football. It is how the Championship club and Pearson use him that will make or break a future England player.

DE LAET RARING TO GO

Former Manchester United defender Ritchie de Laet has said that Leicester City are raring to go when the season kicks off this weekend. Leicester City managed to miss out on promotion last season after suffering a defeat against Watford in the cruellest of circumstances last season.

Now, they are being fuelled by this defeat according to de Laet, who recently made the move to Leicester a permanent one. Pre-season has been extremely tough for the club, but it has helped them get a lot of fitness under their belt according to de Laet.

Leicester City's first match of the season will be against Middlesbrough. Even though Middlesbrough are only expected to be a play-off contender, this is unlikely to prevent Leicester City from having one of the toughest matches of the season. They will be facing another contender for the promotion spots in the form of Leeds United next weekend. De Laet has said that it is imperative that Leicester go into the Leeds match with three points on the board from this encounter. Middlesbrough have been so far brilliant in the pre-season friendly matches, and Leicester expect a tough encounter.
Leicester City, though, have a great record against Middlesbrough at the Riverside stadium as they have not suffered a defeat since 2002.

"We have had four or five weeks of really hard graft and we just want to get going now. I feel all right. I have had a couple of 45 minutes and a full 90 as well, so I feel great and I just want to get going. We have done a lot of running and we had a really hard week in Austria, where it was hot with high humidity. It was training in the mountains and good preparation. It is looking good," said the former United man.

Pearson says mental toughness holds key

Nigel Pearson, the manager of Championship club Leicester City has admitted that although his side is in brilliant physical shape as they start the new season of football, the key to be successful this campaign will be to remain mentally tough throughout the season and focus solely on the challenges in front.

The Foxes finished their pre-season preparations with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of lowly Notts County but bounced back to defeat Middlesbrough 2-1 in their first match of the Championship campaign over the weekend. And Pearson has admitted that the challenges lying ahead for the club are tough and the only way to overcome those challenges is by turning their ability with the football into victories and for that to happen, the players need a level of mental toughness.

Pearson mentioned that in terms of fitness, the Leicester City players are absolutely fine, but admitted that it is almost amazing how much harder and further one can run if one is in a good nick mentally. He mentioned that he will have to wait till the start of the season to get an idea of that though.

Pearson is adamant that it is what holds the key to success. He added that one can have all the ability in the world but the foundation for success is laid by the commitment and the desire to make things happen, even when the going gets tough. He stated that sometimes, teams have to tough it out and many teams have been found wanting in that area at various times in their seasons.

And Pearson believes with the players he has and the kind of pre-season training they have had, there is no reason Leicester City cannot mount another challenge to reach the Premier League directly or through the play-offs.

NORWICH BATTLE BETTER

It is the time of the year when Wigan are at their best. The Premier league strugglers have been perennially involved in a relegation battles ever since being promoted to the top flight more than eight years ago. They are once again involved in a relegation battle for the 2012-13 season as well. Wigan will be having several matches against teams in and around them in the table. As a result, there is a feeling at the DW stadium that they will be able to pull off a great escape once again. They will be hosting Norwich city during the weekend.

This is seen as yet another opportunity for Roberto Martinez' men to take three points given that the match will be at the DW stadium. Norwich come into the encounter relatively safe from the threat of relegation. Yet, Chris Hughton has spoken about the importance of finishing the season strongly. His team has taken this four points from the last four matches. They are seven points above Wigan in the table. Hughton has praised the way Wigan have been playing in recent weeks. He has said that there is every chance that Martinez may be able to repeat the great escape once again.

There are eight matches remaining in the Premier league. “It has to be about us. We have to go with the same approach as we did at Sunderland in our last match and give ourselves every chance of winning the football game. You just hope they don’t have a good day. As a footballing team they are an excellent side. Defensively, they have had some difficulties and without that they wouldn’t be in the position they are in now because their form at times has been good," said Hughton. Norwich recently announced the signing of a new striker.

STILL IN THE RACE

The defender of Leicester City, Ritchie De Laet, has said that his team is still in the race of promotion to the Premier League.

Leicester City has performed poorly off late and has managed to get just one point from the last three games. The recent poor performances have taken Leicester to no. 5 from no. 2 in the points table. But, with a handful of matches still to be played, Laet believes that his team will make a strong comeback and will eventually end up in top 3.
Talking to the reporters ahead of Leicester’s match against Blackburn Rovers, Laet said, “Tomorrow’s game is very important for us. We need to get back to top form as soon as possible. There is not much time left and if we have to finish in top 3, we will have to play top quality football in the remaining games.”

“Things can turn around quickly in this competition. You look at Blackburn Rovers. They were right at the bottom of the points table a few weeks ago. They won a few matches and now, they are at a decent position in the points table.”
“We can also do what Blackburn has done, but, for that, we need to have self belief. We shouldn’t get demoralized at this stage. We should go out there and play our natural game. That’s the only way we can bounce back. If we keep thinking about our performance in the last three games, that will affect our performance in the upcoming games. We need to play with free mind.”

Blackburn Rovers have lost only one out of their last eight matches and Laet admitted that defeating Blackburn would not be easy. The Belgian defender said, “Blackburn has been in great form off late. So, beating them won’t be that easy. They are high in confidence and they will play with attacking approach. We will give our 100% and hopefully, will end up getting three points.”

WE MUST IMPROVE

Ritchie De Laet has said that Leicester City will have to improve its performance on the home soil. In its last two home games, Leicester City has managed to grab just one point.

Talking to the reporters ahead of Leicester City’s match against Huddersfield Town, De Laet said, “At the beginning of the season, we performed brilliantly in the home matches and people started calling King Power Stadium our fortress. But, I am afraid that the King Power Stadium will lose this status if we continue to perform poorly in the home games.”
In its last two away games against Hull City and Burnley, Leicester City performed quite well and secured four points from those two matches. The match against Hull City ended in a goalless draw, while, Leicester defeat Burnley by a close margin of 1-0.

When asked about Leicester’s performance in the last two games, De Laet said, “We had lost two matches consecutively before the match against Hull City and we were under a bit of pressure. But, by grabbing 4 points from the last couple of games, we are back on the right path.”

“We have defended brilliantly in the Championship so far. There are not too many goals scored against us in the ongoing season. We have kept clean sheets in 10 matches which is the most by any team in the ongoing Championship. It means that the defenders are doing their job well and it reduces the pressure from the strikers as well. When your defense is in such great form, you know you only have to score once and your team will be home.”

When asked about the upcoming match against Huddersfield, De Laet said, “We had defeated them when we had faced them last time around. But, they are a dangerous side and they will be looking for the revenge. But, hopefully, we would continue the form that we have shown in the last two games and would walk away with three points from that match.”

RITCHIE LEFT DISAPPOINTED

The defender of Leicester City, Ritchie De Laet, has said that the performance of his side in the previous match against Leeds United was really disappointing, but, the players have put that defeat out of their heads now and are read to have a crack at Derby in the next match.

In its previous match, Leicester was defeated by Leeds United by 1-0. Because of that defeat, Leicester moved down to no. 4 in the Championship points table. Leicester currently has 33 points in 19 matches.

Talking to the reporters ahead of the match against Derby, De Laet said, “We didn’t play that well in our last match, but, it was only a bad day, nothing else. We are not going to put up a similar kind of performance in every match. That match is history now and the team is up for the next game. If Derby comes into the match thinking that we are going perform poorly again, then, they would make a big mistake.”

“In the previous match, we didn’t manage to have a good start and struggled throughout the match and it happens sometimes, when, you play in such a long tournament. But, it’s not going to happen every day, that’s for sure.”
“We were disappointed after the match against Leeds United because we had won the previous couple of games convincingly and we wanted to continue the winning streak.”

Leicester’s performance on the home soil has been phenomenal in the ongoing season. When asked about that, De Laet said, “We feel less pressure on our home ground. The crowd gets right behind us which puts pressure on our opponents.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our supporters. They have been fantastic in the ongoing season. They have turned up in big numbers in every match and that’s really incredible.”

NO TRUTH IN RUMOURS

Leicester City's Thai owners have said that there is no truth to the rumours that they are about to sack the manager Nigel Pearson. The rumours about Nigel Pearson losing his job have emerged in the last couple of days, which have shocked the Thai owners. They have said that the rumours surrounding the manager are extremely unwarranted and inaccurate to say the least. Leicester City did not have the best of starts to the new season after they managed to lose the first three away matches of the season. However, since then, they have started climbing up the table and are currently in the second position.

Recent media reports, though, suggested that the club would be willing to part ways with the manager in order to bring in the former Tottenham man Harry Redknapp, who is currently available after being sacked by Tottenham in the summer. It was not long ago that Harry Redknapp was spoken of as the next England manager, but he has never expressed his intentions to take up a new challenge in his career. Getting teams promoted from the Championship is certainly not new to the former Bournemouth manager. The Championship club Leicester City, though, have categorically denied such rumours.

"Nigel has and continues to retain our total support. Since our arrival in Leicester, it has always been our stated aim to deliver a long term sustainable platform for success. Given the recent unwarranted and inaccurate speculation in relation to our manager, we wish to set the record straight in the most unequivocal manner. Nigel has and continues to retain our total support in helping us to deliver our stated long-term aim of achieving footballing success," said a statement on the official website of the club. The owners have clearly stated that promotion to the Premier league is the target this season.

DE LAET ALL EXCITED

The latest Leicester City signing Ritchie De Laet has said that he is very much looking forward to the start of the new season and is under no illusion that it will be easy. The former Manchester United defender recently made his move to the Championship club permanent after many seasons of spending time on loan at various clubs including Leicester City. He is expected to be a major factor towards the push for promotion from the club. Leicester City were heavily expected to be challenging for promotion spot last time around, but the expected push never came.

They are once again the favourites for promotion this time around as well due to the heavy spending, but Ritchie De Laet reckons that it will certainly not be easy and that the club should focus only on getting the pre-season right. One of the reasons for Ritchie De Laet thinking that the Championship season this time around will be tough is due to the presence of Premier league teams, who have only been recently relegated from the top division. Clubs like Bolton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Blackpool are still expected to have a huge pile of cash injection from the parachute payments.

"The three clubs that came down - Bolton, Blackburn and Wolves - are big clubs, plus you've got the likes of Blackpool, Cardiff, Middlesbrough and all the other sides that are up there time and time again, including Hull and Ipswich. So it is going to be a tough year for everyone in the Championship and competition for not just automatic promotion, but the play-off places as well is going to be fierce. I don't think that the 'favourites' tag will bother the lads too much because they played with that on their shoulders last season," De Laet told Sky Sports.

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