Leicester look to avenge play-off nemeses Cardiff at the Walkers Stadium on Tuesday evening, still winless in the Championship after five matches.
The Foxes were beaten by the Welsh outfit in a dramatic penalty shoot-out in last season’s play-off semi-final after a thrilling second leg at the Cardiff City Stadium.
And after Saturday’s draw at Coventry, Paulo Sousa’s side are still chasing a victory which is so far proving frustratingly elusive.
Visitors Cardiff have taken play-off final defeat in their stride however, unbeaten in their opening five fixtures on level points with leaders QPR.
Boasting arguably the division’s strongest squad helps. Dave Jones has raided the loan market for strong additions to his ambitious squad, who hope to make it third time lucky after a string of disappointments in their plight for promotion.
Craig Bellamy remains the biggest name on everybody’s lips, but the signings of Seyi Olofinjana, Andy Keogh, Jason Koumas and Danny Drinkwater have done much to banish the name Joe Ledley from the Welsh capital.
Jones knows this could be his last shot at glory for his Cardiff side, but goes into tomorrow evening’s match with significant injury concerns of his own.
But despite key trio Bellamy, Michael Chopra and Jay Bothroyd missing Saturday’s game against Hull, the Bluebirds still ran out 2-0 victors on the day.
Leicester manager Sousa will be hoping that Jones’ injury woes will be the slice of luck his Foxes side need to ignite their disappointing season to date, however.
Cardiff manager Dave Jones: “We’re in the first throws of it, we have a long way to go.
“We haven’t even gelled as a team yet, we have so much more to come because we brought in so many players so late.
“I’m happy we have got off to a good start but the lads know we are nowhere near the finished article or nowhere near to achieving what we want.”
Leicester City Team News:
Leicester should be boosted by the arrival of Japanese international Yuki Abe, who should feature after obtaining a work visa.
Goalkeeper Chris Weale is still struggling with a shoulder injury however, which should allow Carl Ikeme his second start between the sticks.
Player to watch: Matty Fryatt
Missed chances have become the defining point of the Foxes’ campaign thus far, and at home Fryatt thrives in front of goal.
A lacklustre performance at Coventry on Saturday has put the striker’s first team place in doubt, but Sousa knows his side need goals from a man who has proved he can provide.
Cardiff City Team News:
Michael Chopra has been ruled out of action until November with an ankle injury, paving the way for Andy Keogh to continue up front.
Craig Bellamy has travelled with the Cardiff squad but faces a late fitness test on a knee injury.
Meanwhile neither Jay Bothroyd and Danny Drinkwater will play any part in the match after failing to overcome calf and ankle injuries respectively.
Player to watch: Peter Whittingham
Take your pick really, but with three of Cardiff’s deadly five potentially out of action Whittingham takes his place as the biggest threat.
With an incredible 25 goals last season (four against Leicester) from the wing it is not difficult to understand why the former-Aston Villa man warrants a particularly close eye.
Playing in a slightly different position this season has shifted emphasis onto creativity for the midfielder, but when allowed the opportunities in front of goal he will more often than not make you pay.
Giving away free-kicks on the edge of the area is not advisable.
Match Facts & Stats
Cardiff 2-3 Leicester
Chopra 21, Whittingham 69 – Fryatt 25, Hudson og 36, King 49
– The two sides have only met on 48 occasions in the league, Leicester shading the honours with 19 victories over Cardiff’s 18.
– The sides met five times last season in all competitions.
– Should Leicester lose it would be their worst start to a season for 21 years.
– The Foxes have won only two of their last 10 regular league meetings with Cardiff.
– And Leicester are the only side not to have opened the scoring in a Championship match this season.
– Cardiff boast the division’s only 100% away record.
Stacking up nicely in our favour, right?
K G Evans
The bad luck has to end soon. Chopra, Bellamy and Bothroyd all likely to be out, this one is ours. Leicester 1-0 Cardiff.
Saturday 18th September:
Leicester: QPR (H)
Cardiff: Ipswich (A)