High-flying Leeds become the latest side to attempt an ending of Leicester’s impressive run of home form when they visit the Walkers Stadium on Boxing Day.
Leeds occupy second place in the Championship table after three consecutive victories, and are currently powering through on a nine-match unbeaten streak in the division.
Simon Grayson’s side registered an impressive win over table-toppers QPR last weekend, while Leicester were condemned to a disappointing defeat at a snow-ridden Portman Road.
But the Foxes will head into the match in confident spirits on home territory having won three in a row at the Walkers Stadium. Their last match on the hallowed turf saw a 5-1 demolition of Doncaster.
Entertainment is not likely to be far away with either of these two sides. Leeds currently take their place as the Championship’s top goal-scorers, while Leicester head into the game with the most efforts on goal in the entire league.
In recent years Boxing Day has been kind to the Foxes, who have not lost a Christmas fixture since their humiliating 1-0 reverse at the hands of then lowly Rotherham in 2004.
Leicester also hold a strong record against their opponents in recent years, winning three in a row against the Yorkshire outfit and staying unbeaten in seven.
Leeds manager Simon Grayson returns to the club where he made over 200 appearances as a player, but there is no room for sentiment at the Walkers as both sides push desperately for the all-important three points.
Leicester manager Sven-Goran Eriksson: “Leeds must be flying now because they are second.
“You could not see it at the time we played them, but any team that has a good run of results for a month will change their position in the table and I hope the next one will be Leicester.”
Leicester City Team News:
Eriksson is sweating on the fitness of centre-backs Curtis Davies (hamstring) and Miguel Vitor (groin), who both limped off at Portman Road last week.
West Brom loanee Roman Bednar missed the Ipswich clash last weekend, but could return to the first team after recovering from a knock.
Player to watch: Darius Vassell
Scored his first goal for the club in the fine victory over Doncaster and will be hungry for more to fire the Foxes up the table.
Vassell has shown signs that he can pose a significant threat to most Championship defences, but must be more clinical if he is to stamp his authority under Eriksson.
Leeds United Team News:
Simon Grayson could be without the services of central defensive duo Alex Bruce (hamstring) and Andy O’Brien (thigh), with Leigh Bromby expected to fill in at the back.
Player to watch: Max Gradel
Who else? Leicester’s former youth academy graduate has been in fine form for Leeds in recent times, scoring both goals against QPR and starting the superb comeback at Burnley with another the previous week.
First team opportunities were always going to stunt his progress during his spell at the Walkers Stadium, and the exit door became inevitable.
An exciting player with the abilities to frustrate and delight, Gradel will be hoping for much more of the latter on his return to City.
Match Facts & Stats
– Leicester have fielded 29 players in the Championship this season, more than any other side.
– Only Sheffield United have conceded the first goal in a match more times than the Foxes.
– Leeds’ last away victory at Leicester was during their Premier League season of 2001/02.
– Dirty Leeds? You bet. Grayson’s side have picked up more yellows (43) and conceded more fouls (281) than any other side in the Championship.
Anthony Bates (Staffordshire)
Time to end Leeds’ run and make Max cry. Leicester 1-0 Leeds.
Tuesday 28th December: