Nigel Pearson takes his Leicester City side to high-flying Cardiff tomorrow, as the Foxes look to build on their comfortable victory over Sheffield Wednesday last weekend.
The Foxes put to bed the bad memories of heavy defeats against Nottingham Forest and Bristol City with the 3-0 victory over the Owls, and go into tomorrow’s match in search of three points that would see them overtake their Welsh rivals.
Cardiff themselves have enjoyed a strong season of their own to date, and currently occupy 4th spot in the Championship.
Dave Jones’ side have been particularly ruthless in front of goal this campaign, with Michael Chopra and Peter Whittingham both finding the net on a regular basis this season. The fact that Chopra has not scored in ten matches and still lies just one behind the division’s top-scorer (Whittingham) tells its own story.
Pearson’s Leicester have struggled against the division’s best so far, going down at the hands of Newcastle, West Brom and Nottingham Forest in the league’s top six.
But last time City travelled to Cardiff at previous ground Ninian Park, Darren Purse’s comical own goal was enough to hand the Foxes all three points on the day.
Goals have been few and far between in previous meetings between the two sides, but there should be no shortage tomorrow afternoon given the home side’s current presence in front of goal.
Leicester possess one of the Championship’s most potent weapons of their own in Matty Fryatt, who currently has ten for the season on his return to the division following City’s relegation in 07/08.
A pitch inspection will take place at 11.30 a.m.
Leicester striker Steve Howard: ‘It is going to be tough, it’s always hostile down there but we are more than capable of handling that. It is going to be a battle rather than a footballing game. We will try and get the ball and pass it about’.
Cardiff forward Michael Chopra: ‘I hope Leicester are my lucky side because I’ve scored a hat-trick against them for Cardiff. I’ve got some great memories and people were talking about it as being the best hat-trick seen at Ninian Park. But I’ll be happy to just get the one on Saturday’.
Cardiff City Team News:
Former City-loanee Kelvin Etuhu could return for the Bluebirds following an ankle injury, whilst Kevin McNaughton and Peter Whittingham should also start.
Key man Joe Ledley is reportedly set to continue playing through the pain as he suffers with a hip injury.
Player to watch: Michael Chopra
A Michael Chopra goalless in ten games is not necessarily a good thing. Far from it in fact.
Last time Chopra faced City the Geordie scored a devastating hat-trick in front of the Ninian Park home crowd to demolish Leicester inside a dismal seventy minutes for the Foxes.
With eleven league goals this campaign Chopra remains on the Championship’s most proven forwards in front of goal. Wayne Brown and Jack Hobbs must be on careful guard…
Leicester City Team News:
Left back Bruno Berner is definitely out of the clash as he nurses a calf injury, but will return for City’s Boxing Day tie with Sheffield United. Manchester City loanee Ryan McGivern will step in to cover.
Matty Fryatt and Wayne Brown have both missed training sessions this week, but should both make Nigel Pearson’s starting lineup.
Player to watch: Steve Howard
The striker will be hungry for more after finally scoring his first goal of the season for the Foxes in their 3-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday.
With Howard playing well Leicester are without doubt a better team for it, and striker partner Matty Fryatt certainly thrives on playing with the big striker.
The amount of chances for City will almost certainly be limited in comparison with last weekend’s demolition of Wednesday, so Howard wil need to be at his best for Leicester tomorrow afternoon.
Match Facts & Stats
– Michael Chopra and Peter Whittingham have scored a huge 23 league goals between them this season – only three less than Leicester’s squad combined.
– The Bluebirds currently lie second in the Championship scoring charts behind leaders Newcastle.
– Leicester have scored in their last nine matches.
– Matty Fryatt has averaged a goal every two starts for the Foxes this campaign.
It’s going to be a tough one, but I think we can pull a result off here. Cardiff 1-1 Leicester.
Saturday 26th December:
Cardiff: Plymouth (H)
Leicester: Sheffield United (H)