Leicester kick off their FA Cup campaign at the Walkers Stadium on Saturday afternoon, as Swansea City are the opponents for their third round clash.
The tie, one of seven all-Championship third round fixtures, pits two of the division’s high-fliers in action, with just one place seperating the two sides.
Swans manager Paulo Sousa has continued from where the departed Roberto Martinez left off, leaving behind a disappointing start to help guide the Welsh club into the Championship play-off positions.
Sousa’s first competetive match in charge of the Swans came at the Walkers on the opening day of the season, ending unhappily as the Foxes overturned a half-time deficit to grab a 2-1 victory.
Following Monday’s postponed fixture at Doncaster Leicester sit 5th in the table with two games in hand, a healthy position going into the New Year that all are certainly delighted with.
The FA Cup has proved a fruitful experience for Leicester fans in recent seasons, with memorable matches against Fulham, Tottenham, Reading and Charlton providing pleasant recollections.
City went to the quarter-finals in 2004/05, eventually being knocked out by Blackburn courtesy of a late Paul Dickov penalty.
Last season’s competition was memorable for Swansea, plucky non-leaguers Histon being dispatched to pave way for a 2-0 victory over Premier League Portsmouth. The Swans were eventually knocked out by Fulham.
Leicester manager Nigel Pearson: ‘They are a decent side, they got off to a very slow start and if you cast your mind back to our first game of the season we had to put in a very good second-half performance to win so it will be a tough game’.
Swansea manager Paulo Sousa: ‘Leicester are a strong and physical side and that is evident of their position in the Championship. The last time we played there we started strong and played really well in the first-half. Leicester made changes at half-time and then we faced a difficult 45 minutes. We will make sure that the same thing does not happen again this time.’
Leicester City Team News:
Ryan McGivern could keep his place at left back, as doubts continue over the fitness of Bruno Berner.
Jack Hobbs and Wayne Brown have both recovered from injuries, but have a tough job of dislodging Michael Morrison in the heart of the defence.
Martyn Waghorn remains suspended, so Matty Fryatt and Steve Howard should continue up front.
Player to watch: Michael Morrison
The centre back has enjoyed a return to first team action with injuries to others, putting in a starring role in the 2-1 victory over Sheffield United.
The 21-year-old has made the step up from non-league football with Cambridge United with promising ease, and played an integral role in Leicester’s promotion campaign from League One last year.
Swansea City Team News:
Albert Serra will be available for the tie after his red card was rescinded.
Lee Trundle’s loan spell from Bristol City has been extended, so the striker should keep his place up front.
Angel Rangel has recovered from illness in time for the clash, whilst captain Gary Monk also seeks a first team spot following his recovery from a calf injuy.
Player to watch: Darren Pratley
The midfielder has hit top-form with the Swans in recent matches, grabbing three goals in as many matches to fire Sousa’s men into the play-off positions.
Adding to a further two goals for the season so far, Pratley has emerged as one of the first names on Sousa’s team sheet, and takes his place as Swansea’s one to watch for Saturday’s tie.
Match Facts & Stats
– Despite their lofty position, Swansea are the Championship’s lowest goal-scorers with just 21 for the season so far.
– Built on a solid defence, the Swans have conceded just 19, making them the division’s third best at the back.
– Leicester have been knocked out of the FA Cup by a Championship club for the past two seasons.
– The Foxes are unbeaten in the last seven league and cup matches against Swansea, winning five of those.
I think a draw and subsequent replay could be on the cards. Tight defences and low goal-scorers. Leicester 0-0 Swansea.
Saturday 9th January:
Swansea: Middlesbrough (A)
Sunday 10th January:
Leicester: Ipswich (H)