Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year's Eve Conclusions from Portsmouth

Leicester City1-1Portsmouth
(HT 1-1)
Nugent 24Futacs 20

King Power Stadium, attendance: 25,356
BBC Match Report

Friday, 30 December 2011

Reflections on 2011 at Leicester City FC

The past twelve months have not been a vintage year for Leicester City Football Club, what with Sven Goran Eriksson's fall from grace through to Nigel Pearson's less than impressive start to his task in revitalising an ailing team. There have been positives, the arrival of a world-class keeper in the making of Kasper Schmeichel to name but one, and here we weigh-up those who have had a good, bad or indeed indifferent year at the King Power Stadium.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Fernandes Departs

Midfielder Gelson Fernandes has played his final game for Leicester City and has returned to AS St Etienne after his final training session with the Foxes this morning.

Loanee: Gelson Fernandes scored once for the Foxes, against
rivals Forest in a 2-2 draw at the City Ground in August
The Swiss international was seen shaking hands with staff and players at the club's Belvoir Drive training ground after a workout today before speaking to fans and wishing the Foxes well. It is believed he will now move to Udinese on loan until the end of the season.

Fernandes joined Sven Goran Eriksson at Leicester in August, re-joining his former Manchester City boss and made an impressive d├ębut at Coventry City two days later. He went on to make a dozen more appearances for the Foxes and scored once, in a 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest.

The midfielder gained popularity amongst the fans but after Eriksson's departure in October never made the same impression on the Leicester City midfield and will now return to his parent club after a mixed loan spell in England.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Foxes plan to snare Sharp striker

Leicester City are set for a dramatic January swoop for Doncaster Rovers forward Billy Sharp, according to the Leicester Mercury.

The Foxes, languishing in mid-table mediocrity in a season where it was hoped that big spending could offer promotion to the Premier League, are short of goals despite high-profile strikers in the name of Jermaine Beckford and David Nugent leading the line. Jermaine Beckford has struggled to find Championship form since his £2.5 million summer move from Everton, netting just twice for the Foxes, and it is thought that 25-year-old Sharp could offer goals to help Leicester jump into the play-off places in the second half of the season.

The Foxes will have to pay big money to remove Sharp from the Keepmoat Stadium, however. The striker has played-out nearly his entire career around Yorkshire, with only a loan spell at Rushden and Diamonds six years ago breaking that record. It is believed that Nigel Pearson's Leicester will bid an initial £3 million for Sharp, in-line with a minimum clause in the player's contract.

Pearson is keen to see chances taken and blamed his players for not taking scoring opportunities more seriously in the wake of the Boxing Day draw to Ipswich Town. To that end, the Foxes have once again linked with Bristol City's Nicky Maynard who is thought to want out of Ashton Gate after the Robins' dire year. Bristol sit above Nottingham Forest and the relegation zone on goal difference alone.

Sharp rejected moves to league leaders Southampton and Ipswich in the summer and Doncaster chairman John Ryan wants the striker to remain with the club. He has contributed nine goals to Rovers' campaign and would be a key asset to their ambitions to remain in the Championship.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Festive Conclusions from Ipswich Town

Leicester City1-1Ipswich Town
(HT 0-1)
Gallagher pen 69Bowyer 4

King Power Stadium, attendance: 27,091
BBC Match Report

Thursday, 22 December 2011

FIFA close emergency loan loophole

Football's world governing body have shocked the Football League with a new ruling that will see emergency loan moves banned from 2014.

Currently over 400 players move outside of the two transfer windows each season, allowing top-end clubs to give youngsters first team playing time in the lower divisions and allowing those lower league clubs access to a rich vein of new talent.

The Football League, long-time critics of the transfer window ideology, lodged complaints with FIFA but they were turned-down. The ruling could see a huge impact on the football economy of England, where there are 72 fully professional league clubs across four divisions. The Football League argued that the emergency loan system is a crucial tool for the 48 third and fourth tier clubs, who rely on the loan system due to their small incomes.

Leicester City have long used the loan system to their advantage, with current manager Nigel Pearson including many young prospects in his League One winning squad. Liverpool's Jay Spearing, Manchester United's Tom Cleverley and Fulham's David Stockdale all appeared as loanees for the Foxes during Pearson's previous two-year reign.

FIFA have agreed, however, to look again at the concept of transfer windows, as confirmed by the Football League's chief operating officer Andy Williamson in a letter to the 72 English league clubs.

“I have to advise you that, despite direct representations from both the Football Association and ourselves, Fifa have concluded that our domestic Emergency Loans (and Youth Loans) are contrary to the international statutes covering the Status and Transfer of Players," wrote Williamson, “The effect of this ruling is that short-term loans will not be allowed during the 'closed’ periods between transfer windows, starting from season 2014/15.

“However, Fifa has indicated that they are prepared to review the current international rules and will undertake research to ascertain whether there is support around the world for any relaxation in the present transfer window restrictions.

“The League will continue to do everything within its power to retain as much flexibility for clubs as possible in this critical area.”

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Waghorn given assurances over Foxes future

Martyn Waghorn has received assurances from Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson that he still has a future at the King Power Stadium.

The 21-year-old striker returned early from his loan spell at Hull City, where he joined Pearson at the start of the season, owing to a hamstring injury. Waghorn has been in reciept of much criticism from Leicester's fans after a disappointing 2010/11 season in the East Midlands but the Foxes' boss has given the former Sunderland man his backing.

"When Waggy is back, is he in our plans? Absolutely," Pearson told BBC Leicester. Waghorn moved to Leicester after a successful loan spell with the then-League One Foxes and was signed for a reported £3 million by Paulo Sousa at the start of last season. He failed to shine under the Portuguese and was ousted from the first team by Sven Goran Eriksson and sought first team football under his former boss Pearson at the KC Stadium at the start of this campaign.

Meanwhile, Pearson confirmed that defender Bruno Berner is not set for a permanent coaching role with the Foxes and could depart in January and stated that Aleksandar Tunchev, long sidelined with knee problems, will make his Leicester City return in the new year.

With Pearson now back in the King Power Stadium hot-seat and his team struggling to find goals despite a potent attacking threat in the form of David Nugent and Jermaine Beckford, it looks likely that Waghorn once again has a future with the club.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Belated Conclusions from the Keepmoat Stadium

Doncaster Rovers2-1Leicester City
(HT 0-1)
Sharp 63, 65Nugent 38

Keepmoat Stadium, attendance: 9,461
BBC Match Report

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Conclusions from Peterborough

Leicester City1-1Peterborough United
(HT 0-0)
Gallagher 56Tomlin 71

King Power Stadium, attendance: 25,948
BBC Match Report

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Waghorn reunited with Foxes

Martyn Waghorn has ended his loan spell at Hull City nearly a month early to rejoin manager Nigel Pearson.

Waghorn, a fans' favourite after his successful spell on loan under Pearson at Leicester in 2009, cites a recent hamstring injury as cause for his hasty return to the King Power Stadium. The ex-Sunderland striker was signed on a permanent deal by Paulo Sousa for £3 million but never made it into Sven Goran Eriksson's plans and he was shipped-out to the KC Stadium to rejoin Pearson.

With Pearson's return to Leicester and with Waghorn likely to remain injured until the New Year it was natural that the 21-year-old would return to the East Midlands.

"He has been brought back for assessment and he is going to get some treatment here because it was a lot more serious than first thought and it wasn't really repairing," said Foxes' assistant manager Craig Shakespeare, "We have had him scanned and we will treat him on a week-to-week basis here. He probably won't be fit before the loan finishes anyway."

Waghorn made five appearances during his temporary spell with the Tigers, scoring against Doncaster Rovers and earning his first call-up to the England under-21s along the way.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Foxes join hunt for Motherwell winger

Wanted man: Chris Humphrey
Leicester City are reported to be one of a number of football clubs chasing Motherwell winger Chris Humphrey.

Sky Sports report that scouts from Bolton, Birmingham, Newcastle, Rangers, Swansea, Sunderland and Leicester were all in attendance at Fir Park as the Steelmen's game against Hibernian on Friday was abandoned due to an electrical fire. All were keen to watch 24-year-old Humphrey, who has set alight the Scottish Premier League with his dazzling performances so far this season.

Humphrey has established himself as a key man in Stuart McCall's side but the Lanarkshire club are in no position to turn-down a good offer for their star man, with the Scottish game's biggest players all struggling for funds and Nigel Pearson's Foxes in a position to spend richly in January.

Humphrey has rubbished speculation and committed himself to the Motherwell cause. The Steelmen are vying for a European place, in a comfortable third position in the SPL six points ahead of St Johnstone and eight points behind Celtic in second, with a game in hand over Neil Lennon's Hoops.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Conclusions from the KC Stadium

Hull City2-1Leicester City
(HT 1-1)
Fryatt pen 30
Coren 88
Konchesky 41

Kingston Communications Stadium, attendance: 20,148
BBC Match Report

Friday, 2 December 2011

Sunderland appointment ends questions over O'Neill future

Foxes legend: Martin O'Neill
Martin O'Neill's agreement this morning to be named as new manager of Sunderland ends speculation surrounding the future of the former Leicester City, Celtic and Aston Villa boss.

The Ulsterman was, for a long time, favourite to succeed Sven Goran Eriksson in the hot seat at the King Power Stadium, to the extent that a number of bookies stopped taking bets on his future. His failure to deny any approach from the Foxes served only to confirm his interest. In the light of his unveiling as the new manager at the Stadium of Light, however, that crucial piece of speculation sits in a whole new light.

O'Neill has been named as the Black Cats' new boss within just three days of Steve Bruce's departure, with the obvious conclusion being that O'Neill had been approached by the Teesiders before Bruce had lost his job. The fact that O'Neill was so quiet on a return to Leicester suggests that he may have seen interest from Sunderland as long as a month ago and, with the door a Premier League club ajar - his boyhood club, no less - he was willing to bide his time and take the chance on Bruce leaving the Stadium of Light rather than make a hasty return to the East Midlands. The rest, for Foxes' fans at least, is history. Nigel Pearson was re-appointed for his second tenure at Leicester City and he has seen the club reach the play-off places for the first time since his initial departure eighteen months ago. 

The appointment of O'Neill to Sunderland leaves lots of pending questions for Tottenham Hotspur, England and Manchester United - all of whom are supposed suitors to the Ulsterman's services. For Leicester City meanwhile, this could be a blessing in disguise: in going for their second-choice man in Pearson, it looks like they may have got the best man for the job.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Foxes set for wintry treat

Leicester City fans will be treated to a winter wonderland event before the match against Peterborough United in two weeks' time.

Modelled on the successful fan village that saw over 20,000 visitors before the Real Madrid pre-season friendly, match ticket holders will be given the opportunity to meet Santa and his reindeer and take part in competitions and games.

There will be free admission to those with a ticket for the game against Posh - who see the Foxes as their closest rivals within the nPower Championship - and the winter wonderland will open at noon. The fixture has been chosen as it will be the last one before Christmas at the King Power Stadium.

"The Fan Village we hosted at King Power Stadium in the summer was a wonderful celebration of Leicester City's rich family atmosphere and this time of year offers us another chance to give something back to our supporters," said Foxes' Chief Executive Susan Whelan.

"We understand that the festive season can be a time where people's resources are stretched, which is one of the reasons we will be offering our supporters even more for the price of their match ticket through the Winter Wonderland. I'm sure it will be a magical occasion and a great day out for families in Leicester, Peterborough and beyond."

Belated Conclusions from Blackpool

Leicester City2-0Blackpool
(HT 1-0)
King 35
Danns 82

King Power Stadium, attendance: 21,578
BBC Match Report

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Conclusions from Fratton Park

Portsmouth1-1Leicester City
(HT 0-0)
Norris 68Nugent 74

Fratton Park, attendance: Not yet announced
BBC Match Report

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Foxes set to miss loan deadline

Leicester City are set to miss this evening's deadline for loan transfer deals, with no moves planned from the Foxes before today's 5pm deadline.

Should the Foxes wish to bring-in a player on loan - a winger is believed to be the target of manager Nigel Pearson - they will have to finalise the deal before 5pm in order for the player's registration to be successfully updated with the Football League.

Pearson has already mentioned the need for width in his Leicester squad. Only Lloyd Dyer can be named as an out-and-out winger in his large and expensively-assembled squad, although both Paul Gallagher and Jeffrey Schlupp are used to playing on the wing.

Despite a Championship record spending spree believed to top £15 million, Sven Goran Eriksson failed in his attempts to lure Reading winger Jimmy Kebe to the King Power Stadium during the summer. Now new manager Pearson is looking for width and is unlikely to find a solution before the permanent transfer window opens in the New Year.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Conclusions from Crystal Palace: Pearson's first game

Leicester City3-0Crystal Palace
(HT 0-0)
Beckford 55
Gallagher 71, 74

King Power Stadium, attendance: 22,449
BBC Match Report

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Sir Nigel, Returneth

It was almost inevitable. As news broke of Martin O'Neill's rumoured meeting with Vichai and Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn at a golf club near Sutton Coldfield, it was clear that Leicester City were not going to see the return of their messiah. The rumours indeed proved false and Foxes' fans were left for two weeks, wondering who would replace Sven Goran Eriksson in the King Power Stadium hot seat.

The King Power group have pulled off that other massive coup, however, in luring Nigel Pearson back to Leicester City. That was the one that nobody saw coming.

Billy Davies, Dave Jones and Roy Keane - all of whom have tasted success in the Championship - were dismissed. Huddersfield's Lee Clark came closest to securing the job as Sven Goran Eriksson's successor as he was shown around the training ground by the Foxes' owners. But that, it seems, was another red herring as he was never offered the job and, consequently, denied any interest in the position he badly desired.

That Pearson is back is a huge surprise, but then at the same time it really isn't. A man of principle - an honest, quiet and blunt Nottinghamshire man who keeps his cards close to his chest - Pearson, it was assumed, would never go back to the club from which he was ousted to make way for the new Thai regime. But with Milan Mandaric and Lee Hoos - the architects of Pearson's exit from the then Walkers Stadium - now gone, Pearson has a platform to finish what he oh-so-successfully started three years ago.

It was in the summer of 2008 that Pearson - having kept Southampton afloat at the expense of Leicester City - was appointed as manager by Mandaric. Together with assistant Craig Shakespeare and scout Steve Walsh, they put pride back into the Foxes' badge with a stern, meticulous approach that gained results. Walsh's eye for talent saw loanees from Premier League clubs - Jack Hobbs, from Liverpool; Kerrea Gilbert, from Arsenal; Tom Cleverley, from Manchester United - tear apart the third tier. Pearson got the best out of his beleaguered bunch of players, making legends out of until-then mediocre names in the history of the club. From the ashes rose Matty Fryatt, scorer of a massive 32 goals, whilst Andy King surged from the youth squad to take command of the midfield. Under Pearson, Leicester City were a mighty force and the future was bright.

The following season, promoted as champions of League One, a confident and determined Leicester City finished fifth in the league and again it was not star names but hard workers - Richie Wellens, Martyn Waghorn and Matt Oakley - who stood apart. Only a poor penalty kick from a Frenchman called Yann Kermorgant quashed hopes of a return to the Premier League, on that fateful night in Cardiff.

That penalty - and the following one missed, by Waghorn, who lay weeping after a second season in the Championship was confirmed -  saw the end of Pearson's reign and instability return to the club as first Paulo Sousa's foreign stars and Eriksson's England Old Boys fail to display the same passion and dedication that had served Pearson so well.

With Pearson back - and those workhorse names replaced by stars in the face of Matt Mills, Sol Bamba, David Nugent and Jermaine Beckford - Leicester City could once again set the second tier alight. A firm hand from Pearson, a couple of game changing loans from the eyes of Walsh and a renewed patience from the Raksriaksorns, and the Foxes could be back in the big time yet. 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The win ratio isn't everything...

Back in Charge: Nigel Pearson has returned to Leicester
With Nigel Pearson now confirmed as Leicester City's new manager it is inevitable that his first thirteen matches in charge will be analysed and compared to the final thirteen games of Sven Goran Eriksson's reign. It will indeed be interesting to see how Pearson stacks up against Eriksson, who was sacked in October after an indifferent start to the Foxes' 2011/12 season.

Of course, the King Power Stadium is only new to Pearson in name: he was in charge at the then-Walkers Stadium between June 2008 and June 2010 and during that time he led Leicester to a comprehensive League One title and a Championship play-off semi-final. It seems, then, that we can already begin to compare the two managers.

Pearson has the best win ratio of any Leicester City manager, a staggering 51.4% compared to Eriksson's admittedly fair 43.64%. Indeed, the Swede's record betters that of club legend Martin O'Neill (38.29%) and here lies the problem: O'Neill was a far more successful manager at Leicester than Eriksson and his win ratio takes into account three seasons in the Premier League, to Eriksson's eighteen months in the second tier. Any comparisons of these oft-quoted win ratios are skewed by the fact that half of Pearson's first reign at Leicester was in a lower division against inferior sides to those found in the Championship.

One man, however, has already done the hard work and discounted those games which are not comparable. City fan Dan Browne has compiled the statistics for Pearson's second season as Leicester boss (in the Championship) and compared those data against Eriksson's Championship record with the Foxes.

Browne explains: "Half of Pearson's games were played in League One where we were routinely outclassing opposition on a whole and his overall win percentage is definitely a misleading statistic. I may be wrong, but I don't think anybody ever made a comment on Pearson against Sven in the Championship, factoring out the L1 games for Pearson to get a like-for-like comparison."

The graph Browne produced for the FoxesTalk fans' forum indicates a strangely similar record between the two men - Pearson edges ahead of Eriksson on points by just a single win whilst Eriksson slimly has the greater number of wins between the two.

Graph: Pearson and Eriksson have a surprisingly similar record in the
second tier.

"I am not one to believe in the stats above all else, at the expense of other factors," continued Browne, "But I did expect that the difference would still be more apparent despite factoring out Pearson's amazing 2008/09 season. What I actually found was very interesting and shows, in the Championship at least, it is very hard to tell them apart. The graph shows win, lose and draw percentages for Championship league games only, as well as an average season's points tally if both managers were to repeat their performance over a season."

Whilst the facts, then, may appear inconclusive between the two managers it must be understood that for all of Eriksson's record he had far greater resources than Pearson ever did during his first spell in charge. The multi-million pound squad assembled by the Swede is a far cry from that bought together by the quiet man from Nottingham.

"I am aware that this still isn't a fair comparison because of Sven's increased resources compared to Pearson," added Browne, "But I was basically getting at the fact that precisely this difference over the funding and quality of players shows that Pearson should - in theory - be able to do even better, since Sven could essentially only match his performance, despite the different class of players available.

"I know the stats aren't everything and I do believe Pearson is much more the type of manager we need as a team in the Championship. He can man-manage well, he made us a team with a bit of grit and the ability to grind out results when we were having a poor game. It is just interesting that there is much, much less between them than I thought there was in terms of their league performance!"

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Pearson faces press

Training: Pearson started his new job today
Leicester City Football Club's Chief Executive Susan Whelan has unveiled Nigel Pearson as the club's new manager in a press conference at the King Power Stadium.

Introducing Pearson to the media she said: "When we started the process of looking for a manager we wanted someone with Championship experience and who could provide an immense strength of character to motivate and lead the players. The man we found was Nigel and we're delighted to welcome him back to Leicester City."

Whelan also thanked caretaker bosses Mike Stowell and Jon Rudkin for their efforts before Pearson faced questions from the media.

"[The last twelve days] have felt very long, but it's good to be back and I'm glad everything's been resolved," he said, "I'm leaving a club which we worked exceptionally hard to build up but I'm delighted to be back at Leicester. I love positive pressure and I get a positive feel for the place. Obviously I've been here before but the club is now in a different place and in a different position in terms of ownership."

City vice-chairman Aiyawatt 'Top' Raksriaksorn spoke of his desire to support the man he believes can take the Foxes back to the top flight, but was not drawn on any specific amount of money Pearson could be offered to spend come January.

"I think it's too early to discuss money and how much we want to spend," said Top, "It's important to see now how the squad are and in training this morning Nigel had an opportunity to see where they are. But my ambitions are for the team to be promoted and I will support him in any way he needs.

"He has the passion to motivate the players, the staff and the fans. In him we have chosen the right man to bring the team to the Premier League."

Facing the media: Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn, Nigel Pearson
and Susan Whelan

Asked about why he came back, Pearson was happy to state his affection for a club he led to the League One title, "It's a club which I have an affinity with, I had a very good time here before and I think there is a lot of potential to achieve the aims the owners have. I do believe we've got a very good squad here and it's an incredible opportunity for myself and my staff."

"I'm always confident in my own ability and that of the support staff," added Pearson, "We have the backing of the board who know what's needed for us to be successful. I have to ask myself the question, 'Do I want to be here?' and of course I do, it's such a big club and we belong in the Premier League.

"I didn't expect it - I didn't see it coming - but I'm glad to be here."

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Pearson named as Foxes' manager

Leicester City Football Club have tonight announced Nigel Pearson as first-team manager.

Boss: Pearson has signed a two-and-a-half year deal

The former Hull City boss has been released from his contract after the Tigers agreed a compensation deal with the Foxes and will take charge at Leicester tomorrow morning before a press conference where he will be officially presented to the media.

In his previous spell as manager at the now-King Power Stadium, Pearson led the Foxes to the League One title at the first attempt before his side fell short of play-off success after a semi-final defeat to Cardiff City in their first season back in the Championship.

Pearson has been joined by his long-time assistants Craig Shakespeare as Assistant Manager and Steve Walsh as Head of Recruitment who also sign until the end of the 2013/14 season.

"Craig, Steve and I are all extremely excited to be re-joining Leicester City," said Pearson, "We're looking forward to working with the players and working closely with the Board of Directors to achieve the Club's aspirations."

Monday, 14 November 2011

Leicester agree compensation deal for Pearson

Returning: Nigel Pearson at Leicester in 2009
Nigel Pearson will be named as Leicester City manager within the next 24 hours after the Foxes agreed a compensation deal with Hull City to see his return to the East Midlands.

Pearson is believed to have had a compensation clause of £675,000 written into his contract, a sum equal to that agreed by Hull City when they secured the services of the 48-year-old from the Foxes seventeen months ago. Tigers' owner Assem Allam was holding out for a reported £1 million in compensation - for Pearson and his backroom team of Craig Shakespeare and Steve Walsh - but backed-down on Saturday to agree a compromise with the Asia Football Investments consortium, owners of Leicester City Football Club.

Allam's change in stance will pave the way for Pearson to return to Leicester, a club which has seen a complete transformation since he departed in June 2010. His efforts saw then-third tier Leicester promoted back to the Championship at the first attempt before a successful season in the second tier saw the Foxes within a penalty kick of a Wembley play-off final. Pearson's deteriorating relationship with Foxes then-Chief Executive Lee Hoos saw him depart amidst a desire from chairman Milan Mandaric to lure a big name to the club and attract new investors.

Whilst Pearson began his new project on Humberside, Mandaric sold Leicester City to Asia Football Investments, led by father and son duo Vichai and Aiyawatt Raksriakson who introduced their King Power brand as shirt and stadium sponsors before a renovation project at the now-King Power Stadium took place this summer. An indifferent start to the season saw Sven Goran Eriksson sacked as manager a month ago and King Power's search for a replacement has led them back to Pearson.

Pearson will sign a £1 million per year contract and be rewarded with a large bonus should he guide the Foxes back into the Premier League. Meanwhile, the Tigers are believed to have already approached Manchester United, to take reserve team coach Warren Joyce to the KC Stadium as Pearson's replacement.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Former Foxes' owner faces tax trial

Former Leicester City owner and chairman Milan Mandaric will face trial accused of tax evasion.

Charges: Milan Mandaric was owner at the Walkers Stadium for three years

Along with Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp - manager at Portsmouth under Mandaric's ownership of the South coast club - the Serbo-American business tycoon faces two charges of cheating the public revenue.

The case relates to two payments of £183,000 that were allegedly made by Mandaric to Redknapp's Monte Carlo bank account during their spell in charge at Pompey.

Mandaric, 73, took over at Leicester after buying-out a consortium including club legends Gary Lineker and Emile Heskey in January 2007 for £25 million. Under his tenure, the Foxes went through a total of seven managers and the club was relegated to the third tier for the first time in their 125-year history. A successful promotion campaign under Nigel Pearson - expected to be reappointed as manager next week - saw the club fighting in the Championship play-offs in 2010, only to be knocked-out by Cardiff City on penalties.

Mandaric sold the club to Thai investors Vichai and Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn last year for a reported sum of £40 million.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Foxes face-off Tigers in compensation deadlock

Leicester City's move for Nigel Pearson - who was expected to be named  as manager yesterday - has stalled as talks over compensation for the Hull City manager have reached a deadlock.

Locking horns: Hull's Allam and Leicester's Raksriaksorn are vying for the
signature of Nigel Pearson

The Tigers were reported on Tuesday to have agreed a fee of around £400,000 as repayment for the loss of Pearson to the Foxes but that figure is now believed to have doubled, with insiders at the KC Stadium claiming that Leicester will be expected to pay a hefty £1 million to capture back their man.

Pearson's eighteen-month reign on Humberside has almost certainly run its course. He has not taken training all week at Hull's Millhouse Woods Lane training complex after admitting his desire to speak to Leicester and is likely to be ousted even if no agreement can be reached between the two clubs.

The Foxes will have to agree to pay £1 million - to secure Pearson and assistants Craig Shakespeare Steve Walsh - unless a compromise can be reached. A third option is for Pearson and his backroom staff to resign but that would leave them open to legal action for breach of contract.

Both Leicester chairman Vichai Raksriaksorn and Hull owner Assem Allam have formidable business reputations, with neither likely to want to lose face by conceding defeat in the deal for Pearson. But Raksriaksorn has insisted before that he will not be held to ransom in transfer dealings.

Raksriaksorn had hoped to have a new manager in place by this weekend, leaving the new man a whole week to prepare his new squad for the visit of Crystal Palace a week on Sunday. That opportunity is slipping as the days pass and Pearson will be growing increasingly frustrated at his lack of input into whichever squad he will be managing after the international break.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Vassell out for season

Sidelined: Vassell is out for six months with
a knee injury 
Darius Vassell is set to miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

The Leicester City striker - a lynchpin of Sven Goran Eriksson's strike force - tore medial ligaments and ruptured his cruciate ligament in the Foxes' 3-2 away defeat to West Ham United and needed surgery to repair the damage to his knee. The 31-year-old has successfully undergone surgery but will be out of action for six months - meaning he is likely to miss the remainder of the Foxes' Championship campaign.

The former England man has appeared 44 times in royal blue having been signed by Eriksson from Turkish side Ankaragucu last year. He has scored five Foxes' goals.

Meanwhile, Aleksandar Tunchev has rejoined his Leicester City teammates after the expiry of his loan deal at Crystal Palace. The Bulgarian international joined the Eagles at the start of the season to gain first team experience following his lengthy injury lay-off. He made ten appearances for Dougie Freedman's side, helping them to sixth in the Championship table.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Pearson poised to sign as Leicester manager

Nigel Pearson will, Of Fosse and Foxes understands, be named as Leicester City manager by Wednesday.

The BBC have now reported that Pearson wants to speak to Leicester, as reported elsewhere this morning, and the Tigers are believed to have given-in after the Foxes determinedly approached the Humberside club to speak to Pearson for a second time today.

It is believed that Pearson will be unveiled as the Foxes new manager - again - on Wednesday, although his appointment could be confirmed tomorrow.

Pearson led the Foxes to promotion from League One at the first attempt and left the club after leading them to a Championship play-off semi-final at the first time of asking. He still has a year and a half on his contract at the KC Stadium but the Foxes' Thai owners will pay £400,000 compensation demanded by Hull - and a tidy wage for the ex-Middlesbrough defender - in order for them to snare their man.

Dietmar Hamann, former Foxes coach, has resigned as manager of Stockport County - paving the way for him to possibly rejoin the Foxes under Pearson. Hamann joined the club as first team coach under Sven Goran Eriksson before moving on to take the Edgeley Park hot seat.

Pearson wants to speak to Foxes

Decisions, decisions: Pearson could return to former club
Nigel Pearson is set to anger his current bosses at Hull City - by ignoring their rebuttals to Leicester City and going to speak with the Foxes' Thai owners.

The Tigers rejected an approach from Leicester for former manager Pearson over the weekend but the now-Hull manager wants to speak to Vichai and Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn to seal a shock move back to the East Midlands.

Pearson would certainly fit the bill at the King Power Stadium, with the Raksriaksorns seeking a man with Championship experience and a positive track record at this level. The likes of Dave Jones, Billy Davies and Roy Keane have all been overlooked as the Thai owners chased first Martin O'Neill - who is seeking a Premier League position - and now Pearson as the man to succeed Sven Goran Eriksson.

Hull defender Liam Rosenior has pleaded with his manager to remain on Humberside. Speaking to the Hull Daily Mail, he said that he would be "disappointed" in Pearson if he were to leave now.

"I am not surprised the manager is getting linked with the job at another club. But is it flattering? No, because Leicester are in the same league as us. Yes, they have got money but they are below us in the table so it is not flattering at all."

The Foxes indeed lie 12th after an inconsistent run of form, despite their big spending over the summer. Nonetheless the Tigers are only two points ahead of Leicester and Pearson - revered at the King Power Stadium after seeing Leicester promoted back to the Championship at the first attempt - has failed to quash rumours of a return to his former club.

"If it is a top Premier League club it might be different," added Rosenior, "I'd be very disappointed if the boss decided to go to Leicester because I think we have got better players here. We would all be devastated if he went. Hopefully, he will stay."

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Conclusions from Leeds United

Leicester City0-1Leeds United
(HT 0-0)

Clayton 69

King Power Stadium, attendance: 26,720 (3,319)
BBC Match Report

Hull block Foxes' move for Pearson

Hull City have blocked a move from Leicester City and denied Tigers' boss Nigel Pearson the opportunity to speak to the Foxes' about the vacant managerial position at the King Power Stadium.

According to Sky Sports, Hull are keen to keep hold of their manager - who moved to the KC Stadium at the start of last season after being ousted by former Leicester director Lee Hoos.

But, with Hoos now gone and Pearson coy on speculation linking him to the Foxes' job, attention has turned to the ex-Middlesbrough defender who could make a dramatic return to the East Midlands club, which he led to promotion from League One at the first attempt.

Meanwhile, former Cardiff City boss Dave Jones has not been approached by the club.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

O'Neill 'no comment' on City job

Martin O'Neill has refused to be drawn on ongoing speculation linking him to the vacant managerial position at the King Power Stadium.

When asked by BBC Leicester's Ian Stringer, he stated that he had no desire to speak about the Leicester City manager's job - on or off the record. In what Stringer says was a brief phone conversation, the Northern Irishman did not dispel rumours that he has been approached or distance himself from speculation linking him to the Foxes' hot seat.

With Lee Clark now out of contention, Nigel Pearson has been installed as surprise favourite - Bet365 offering 11/8 odds on the former Foxes' manager making a return to the East Midlands - alongside Roy Keane. Billy Davies and Mark Hughes, consistently contenders for the post since Sven Goran Eriksson lost his job last week, each remain at 5/1. Pearson, however, has denied claims he may be tempted back to Leicester.

"I'm not interested in it," he said, "People outside of the football club have been talking about it, but not me. My priority is getting [Hull City] ready for the game on Saturday."

Dave Jones, former Cardiff manager, has confirmed that whilst he is interested in the post, he has not been approached by the football club.

Clark turns-down Leicester opportunity

Linked: Huddersfield manager Lee Clark
News that Huddersfield Town manager Lee Clark this morning said goodbye to his players in a special meeting after training, have been proven false after he released a statement on the Terriers' website.

"We have woken up to another round of media speculation this morning regarding me and it is now escalating on a daily basis," he said.

"The speculation hasn't gone away and I apologise to anyone if not commenting on this earlier has caused any issues for the supporters. Regardless, now is the time that I want to put these rumours to an end.

"I am not interested in the Leicester vacancy. All I am interested in is moving forward with the job at hand at Huddersfield Town. My staff and I, and most importantly my family, are very happy here; we get looked after unbelievably well by the Club and we really appreciate it."

The Leicester Mercury have mentioned a rush on betting for Roy Keane and quote a report in the Bangkok Post that states Martin O'Neill and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer remain in the frame as they seek evidence to link people to the vacancy at the King Power Stadium - with little news breaking from LE2 since Sven Goran Eriksson lost his job last week.

Dramatic: Pearson could return to Leicester
Attention has also turned to former Foxes boss Nigel Pearson. The Hull City boss left the King Power Stadium under a dark cloud after being forced out by Milan Mandaric as the tycoon installed Paulo Sousa as a 'big name' manager to attract new investors to the football club.

After the takeover by Asia Football Investments - led by now-chairman Vichai Raksriaksorn - Sousa was given the boot and Sven Goran Eriksson named as Leicester boss. It seems that, with Mandaric gone and the path cleared for Pearson's return, it may not be beyond the realms of possibility that Pearson could make a dramatic return to the East Midlands.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Keane latest man linked to Foxes vacancy

Keane: Odds have been slashed on the
former Sunderland and Ipswich manager
Roy Keane has emerged as the latest man to assume the role of favourite to succeed Sven Goran Eriksson as the next permanent manager of Leicester City Football Club.

Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and William Hill are three big-name bookmakers who have slashed the Irishman's odds to 3/1 since this morning amid speculation that Keane was amongst the 13,286 fans at Turf Moor who watched the Foxes comfortably beat Burnley.

Keane's last stint in management saw him sacked from his role as Ipswich boss after nearly two years in charge, his side's inconsistent form leaving the Tractor Boys 21st in the Championship when he was relieved of his duties. Previously he won the Championship title en route to securing promotion with Sunderland but left after a humiliating 4-1 defeat by Bolton Wanderers citing conflicts with chairman Niall Quinn.

Many would cite Keane's problems with those in charge - his turbulent playing career is well-documented - and inability to find consistency at Portman Road as reasons for him to be overlooked. Lee Clark - rumoured to be joining the Foxes as manager with former colleague Kevin Keegan as director of football - is a much more popular candidate with fans, who still favour a return of Martin O'Neill - who is seemingly out of the managerial race - above any other candidate.

Conclusions from Turf Moor

Burnley1-3Leicester City
(HT 1-1)
Wallace 23Konchesky 20
Nugent  54
Gallagher pen 62

Turf Moor, attendance: 13,286
BBC Match Report

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Clark and Keegan speculation grows

Manager: Lee Clark
Reports in the media and from well-informed sources have indicated to Of Fosse and Foxes that Leicester City's hunt for a new manager may be drawing to a close, with a surprise swoop for a former Newcastle United duo in the offing.

Lee Clark - who earlier in the week distanced himself from rumours that he had been approached by the Foxes - is expected to take over as the day-to-day manager of the club, his impressive forty game unbeaten run at League One Huddersfield Town proving enough to impress the Foxes' Thai owners.

Director of Football: Keegan
To accompany Clark as a young manager, Vichai and Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn are anticipated to offer a new role as Director of Football to former Newcastle, Manchester City, Fulham and England manager Kevin Keegan.

The speculation over the duo - who worked together at Newcastle United during Keegan's second stint in charge of the Magpies - has grown today after news over an approach by the Raksriaksorns to Keegan was rumoured in the Saturday newspapers.

Following Hull City's 1-0 victory at Nottingham Forest this afternoon, former Foxes manager Nigel Pearson distanced himself from reports that it could be him stepping back into the hot seat at the King Power Stadium.

Conclusions from Upton Park

West Ham United3-2Leicester City
(HT 2-0)
Baldock 21, 71
Faubert 22
King 58, 74

Upton Park, attendance: 30,410
BBC Match Report

Lennon wants to stay at Celtic

Lennon: Former Fox is happy in Scotland
Neil Lennon has declared himself out of the running for the vacant manager's position at Leicester City's King Power Stadium.

The former Fox, who followed Martin O'Neill to Celtic as a player before taking over as manager at Parkhead last year. He had been linked with the job at Leicester after coming under pressure in Scotland - Celtic currently lie thirteen points behind Old Firm rivals Rangers in the Scottish Premier League - but has confirmed now that he will not seek the appointment as Foxes' manager.

""I am very flattered, but I have a helluva job here," said Lennon speaking to BBC Scotland, "There is an obvious connection because I played there. It is a great club with a bit of a clout behind, but I want to stay here."

And, with Martin O'Neill distancing himself through third-party hints that he remains interested only in Premier League managerial jobs - he is heavily linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur next season should Harry Redknapp take over as England boss - it is another former England manager who is in the frame to replace Sven Goran Eriksson in the hot seat at King Power Stadium.

Kevin Keegan is being linked with a move to the East Midlands, possibly as a director of football with Lee Clarke taking over as manager, despite Clarke's insistence earlier in the week that he is not interested in any move away from Huddersfield Town. Former City boss Nigel Pearson is also believed to have attracted the Foxes' Thai owners.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Foxes look to Upton Park as rumour mill turns

Leicester City have reportedly approached Crystal Palace manager Dougie Freedman in their search for a new manager, according to Sky Sports.

And whilst Freedman has attracted the Foxes' Thai owners, Reading's Brian McDermott has rules himself out of contention for the job. The Heston Blumenthal-lookalike has impressed many after leading the Royals to the play-off final last year, with the Madejski Stadium-based club currently on an impressive seven-game unbeaten streak in the Championship.

"Leicester haven't rung me," McDermott said to the Reading Post, "I've been here 11 years now and until someone tells me anything different, this is where I am."

Steve Claridge has backed Martin O'Neill as the next Leicester City manager. Odds of O'Neill being appointed have fallen after a rumour that he was meeting with the club's owners in an exclusive Sutton Coldfield hotel failed to come true, but the Ulsterman remains a popular choice amongst the fans. However, Lee Clark (7/4) - who ruled himself out of contention on Wednesday -  Gordon Strachan (3/1), Mark Hughes (7/2), Billy Davies (6/1) and Karl Robinson (8/1) are all now being offered at shorter odds than O'Neill (9/1) at Sky Bet.

Leicester City visit West Ham United tomorrow and Hammers' boss Sam Allardyce is apprehensive of coming up against a backlash from the managerless Foxes.

"I hope it doesn't affect them in a good way," said Allardyce, "I hope it affects them in a negative way because most of the players that will be playing Sven will have bought to the club."

The Hammers boss also commented on the sacking of Eriksson: "The problem with that is you go out and bring in players and it's such a difficult job to produce results until you get to know the players and you build up team spirit. If you've got bigger purse strings you are expected to get to the top of the league and Leicester have probably spent more than anyone else in this division.

"It's a results-driven industry these days, and results have to come quickly," he added.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Grayson and Clark reject Leicester move

Leeds United manager and former Fox, Simon Grayson, has rejected any possibility of a move back to the East Midlands.

Along with Huddersfield Town manager Lee Clark, Grayson has not applied for the vacant managerial position at the King Power Stadium and the Yorkshireman has affirmed his relationship with his current club.

"[Leicester] is a club that's very close to my heart, but [Leeds] is far closer to my heart," said Grayson in an interview with the Yorkshire Post, "I've had an affiliation with Leicester in the past, but my sole aim is to do well for Leeds. I'm totally focused on Leeds and that focus has never dwindled during my time at the club."

Clark, meanwhile, remained cool on the idea of applying for the Leicester job. He had become a popular left-field option amongst fans after guiding Huddersfield to an unbeaten run exceeding forty games.

"I'm not applying for any job," said Clark speaking to BBC Leeds, "I'm a Huddersfield manager working for a fantastic man and a fantastic board. Whether it's just to fill areas in newspapers, I don't know, but there has certainly not been any contact with me or my representatives."

Both Grayson and Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who played under Martin O'Neill at Filbert Street, have given the Ulsterman their backing.

"It would be great to see [Martin O'Neill] back in the game," said Lennon, "One of his old adages was that you never go back, but I think it is very, very tempting for him. There is a good foundation at Leicester and I think the Leicester fans would be more than thrilled to see him back because he had such success there in the late 90s and the early part of the century. He has been out of the game for a long time. It’s the game’s loss to have such a great character and manager out of the game and if he does get the job I will be thrilled for him."

Grayson added: "I'd be very surprised if Martin O'Neill doesn’t accept the job if he's offered it."

Former Fox Steve Claridge - who scored at Wembley to take O'Neill's side into the Premier League in 1996 - added his thoughts and he also believes the job is their if the ex-Aston Villa boss desires it.

"It was always going to be the case that he would be mentioned," said Claridge, now a BBC pundit, "Whether or not Martin would want to go back I don’t know but I imagine if he did want the job it is there for the taking."

Rumours linking O'Neill with the post vacated by Sven Goran Eriksson on Monday night continue to circulate without concrete evidence from either O'Neill himself or the club. The Leicester Mercury, meanwhile, have suggested that the Swede was fired after Leicester City's Thai owners examined his form since joining the club  a year ago.

And, with Eriksson failing to secure successive wins since February and with his side failing to come from behind in any game to win, only the 1-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in mid-September saved Eriksson's job. Indifferent form since then led Vichai and Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn with little option but to relieve Eriksson of his postion. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Eriksson releases statement as O'Neill speculation grows

The fall-out from Sven Goran Eriksson's departure as Leicester City manager continues as the shocking news settles and Foxes' fans come to terms with the news.

"It was always my aim to lead the club into the Premier League," said Eriksson, "I am very sorry that I won't be able to do that," he added, "I have always thought, and still believe now, that the club will be promoted this season. The current squad is capable and ready to achieve promotion, but football is a results industry and unfortunately we couldn't quite get things right enough of the time."

Eriksson released his statement through the League Managers' Association, the body who condemned Leicester City Football Club for their rashness after the sacking of Paulo Sousa a year ago.

"To the players; old, new, everyone in the squad, I would like to say thank you. You are a talented group and I am hopeful that you will achieve success very soon. To the staff at the club; both at the stadium and the training ground - you treated me like a king and I shall miss working with you all. Last but not least, to the fans; I want to say a huge thank you for your support. You are fantastic people and I will never forget the way you welcomed me in to your club. I am just sorry that I won't be on the bench the day you reach the Premier League."

Eriksson finished his statement with an emotional message: "Being the manager of Leicester City was an absolute pleasure and I wish everyone connected with the club the best of luck. Leicester City is a great club and I am certain that with the current owners in charge the club will go from strength to strength."

Martin O'Neill is favourite to replace the Swede in the King Power Stadium hot-seat as he ruled-out the possibility of becoming the next manager of Northern Ireland. Nigel Worthington quit after a 3-0 defeat to Italy a fortnight ago and O'Neill would have been a popular choice - but the ex-Aston Villa boss played-down any speculation. He said that he wants another chance in the Premier League and wishes to return to club management.

And, with Eriksson relieved of his post, the path is clear for O'Neill to make an emotional return to the East Midlands. The Belfast Telegraph reports that O'Neill could be tempted to return to the club at which he made his name - the 59-year-old took Leicester to Wembley four times, winning two league cups and a play off trophy and led the Foxes to eighth place in the Premier League in 2000, their highest league finish since 1976. After being tempted by Celtic, O'Neill moved north of the border and won three titles in four seasons with the Bhoys.

O'Neill's stock remains high despite his leaving Aston Villa under a cloud over a year ago: he fell out with Villains' owner Randy Learner over transfer funding. Indeed, O'Neill remains as a common name mentioned with many vacant Premier League managerial positions, not least as a potential successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Whether he could be tempted to move back to Leicester - and whether or not that would be a shrewd move for as canny a man as O'Neill - remains, for now, to be seen.

O'Neill favourite with fans and bookies

Martin O'Neill has been installed as an early favourite to replace Sven Goran Eriksson as Leicester City manager after the Swede was sacked last night.

Beloved: Martin O'Neill is a legend at Leicester, where he won promotion and
established the Foxes in the top-ten in the Premier League

The shock decision leaves the Foxes in 13th in the nPower Championship and without a manager as they head into arguably their biggest game of the season when they visit West Ham United on Saturday.

Academy director Jon Rudkin will take charge alongside the last remaining first team coach, goalkeeping coach Mike Stowell, will select the team to face the Hammers but speculation has already turned to who will replace Eriksson on a permanent basis - despite a statement on the club's website confirming that no-one is yet in place to succeed the ex-England boss.

"The process of recruiting a new permanent Manager will begin in the coming days," reads a statement on the club's official website, "There will be no further comments from the Club or any comment on the recruitment process until an appointment is made."

O'Neill, the most successful Leicester manager in recent times, is odds-on favourite at 11/10 to take his former post. The Northern Irishman, who won two league cups in six years at Filbert Street before departing for success with Celtic and a stint at Aston Villa, is also a firm favourite with the fans, with one poll indicating that he is favoured by 55%.

Billy Davies and Mark Hughes are also popular option with fans but are installed by Sky Bet at 8/1 and 9/2 respectively.

The new-found reputation of Leicester City as a big-spending club, along with the well-known ambition of their Thai owners, sees the Foxes linked with big name managers like never before. The likes of Slavan Bilic (20/1), Carlo Ancelotti (25/1) and Marcelo Lippi (25/1) are big names for a club whose recent managers have included the likes of Martin Allen and Rob Kelly.

Certainly names such as Ancelotti or Lippi bring a similar respect and awe that Eriksson supposedly offered, but O'Neill, Davies or Huddersfield's Lee Clark (9/2) have a certain credibility within the Football League. With fickle Foxes' fans seeking nothing short of promotion in a third frustrating season back in the second tier, the steady hand of O'Neill could be just the ticket - if he would accept the job.

All odds from Sky Bet. Odds correct at time of publication.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Eriksson Sacked

Sacked: Sven Goran Eriksson
Sven Goran Eriksson has been sacked as Leicester City manager.

Eriksson was widely criticised by Foxes' fans after a disappointing and inconsistent start to the season and, with his big-money summer signings failing to consistently dazzle on the pitch, the club's Thai owners have run short of patience with the Swede.

An audibly shocked and upset Eriksson could say nothing as he drove away from the Foxes' Belvoir Drive ground, a simple "Hello" being his only message to the fans, "I can say nothing at this time."

He leaves with the club just twelfth in the Championship table but within a win of fourth place. Leicester had the opportunity to go second with a win over Millwall at the King Power Stadium on Saturday but a dismal 0-3 reverse ensued amid fans calling for Eriksson's head.

Good wins against Derby County and Brighton & Hove Albion have been forgotten as poor losses to Watford and Bristol City have marred the Foxes' start to a campaign where they were widely hailed as being favourites to win the league this year. A mixture of big name signings, with the exception of top performers Kasper Schmeichel and David Nugent, have broadly disappointed with the likes of Matt Mills and Jermaine Beckford failing to shine in royal blue.

Early rumour links Gary Megson or Billy Davies with the vacant role.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Conclusions from Millwall

Leicester City0-3Millwall
(HT 0-2)

Henderson pen 36, 45+2, 68

King Power Stadium, attendance: 21,931
BBC Match Report

Danns storm-out rumours false

Danns: Featured heavily in pre-season
Leicester City midfielder Neil Danns has reportedly stormed-out of the King Power Stadium after Sven Goran Eriksson left him out of his match day squad for this afternoon's Football League Championship encounter with Millwall.

But 28-year-old Danns, active on social media, tweeted his thoughts having been prompted by Foxes' fans and remarked, "I didn't storm off".

Ending his tweet with a hashtag "#stupidrumours", Danns wrote, "I've gone to collect [my] family to watch the game."

Friday, 21 October 2011

Belated Conclusions from St Andrew's and Watford

Leicester City2-0Watford
(HT 2-0)
Nugent 19
Beckford 36

King Power Stadium, attendance: 20,304
BBC Match Report

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Seattle Sounders honour career of Keller

USA: Keller appearing for Foxes in 1997
Seattle Sounders will honour the career of former Leicester City goalkeeper Kasey Keller as he makes his final league appearance in the MLS tonight.

The American keeper - who played for the Foxes under Martin O'Neill between 1996-1999 - will be greeted by a record crowd at the Sounders' CenturyLink Field ground as they face San Jose Earthquakes tonight. Filling the entire NFL stadium for a soccer match is unheard of and stands as testament to a legend of American soccer.

“I look at the calendar and I see that I’m going to be 42 next month," reflected Keller, "At some stage, it’s all going to come to an end very rapidly. And I just don’t want that to happen in the middle of a season. I just don’t want to not be able to train, not be able to play, not be able to perform at the level that I’m used to, that you’re used to, that the club, the fans, that everybody is used to, and be stumbling around out there because of my name and that kind of stuff. I think it just feels like it’s the right time: I want to go out on my terms."

Keller became the first American to play in England when he joined Millwall at the tender age of 22 and, after accruing over 200 appearances for the Lions he became the first Yank to play in the Premier League when he joined Leicester for £900,000.

During his four years at Filbert Street Keller was in goal as Martin O'Neill's side won the Coca-Cola Cup in 1997 and he appeared at Wembley again when the Foxes met Tottenham Hotspur in the same event two years later. In total, Keller made just short of the magical hundred appearances for Leicester City and moved to Spain for two seasons before returning to England for a successful spell with Spurs. A loan stint at Southampton and a foray into Germany followed. He made his final appearances in England for Fulham before joining Sounders in 2009.

Tonight's league closer will not be Keller's last game for the Sounders, as he hopes to lead the team into the MLS Cup Final and his side will host a CONCACAF Champions League fixture next week. However it will stand as the final regular season game in a long and successful career spanning both sides of the continent.

Edited 16/10/2011 11:05 - It was erroneously stated that Kasey Keller joined Seattle Sounders in 1999. The goalkeeper in fact joined the club in 2009 and this has been amended (via @jglover12)

Rudkin praises "first class facilities"

Leicester City academy manager John Rudkin is amongst many within the club who have praised the recently re-opened LCFC Training Facility at Belvoir Drive.

Refurb: Sven Goran Eriksson's office is amongst the rooms renovated at the Foxes' training ground
Amongst the improvements to pitches - including the construction of a state-of-the-art synthetic pitch - every room at the facility has been enhanced with new technology to improve the already well-respected sports science and medical departments. A new lounge for youth team members and their parents has been constructed alongside improvements to the restaurant and changing rooms.

"The whole place has had a major revamp and it will be beneficial right across the club. These are first class facilities and it is terrific when young players see not only the facilities but the standard of delivery and after-care provided by the football club. It is an environment that you would want you children involved in."

Rudkin was quick to praise the investment in the club made by Thai owners Vichai and Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn, the King Power owners showing their commitment through major investment in the playing squad alongside improvements at the King Power Stadium and now Belvoir Drive.

"The investment has been magnificent since they arrived at the football club," Rudkin continued, "They have a real vision for the long term and this is part of it. For us as a football club and academy, we thank them greatly, and also as a city. What we are seeing at a senior level with the investment is very exciting for everyone."

Football director Andrew Neville, whilst curt on the exact cost of the training facility's refurbishment, praised the work done at the training ground and the new "Premier League facilities" on offer.

"We felt left behind a little bit over the last few years. We have certainly felt the facility had become a bit tired so we put a proposal to the owners to improve the facility and they have bought into it," he said in an interview with the Leicester Mercury, "They have invested significantly here in terms of the pitches, the artificial pitch, the offices and medical facilities here, and all the fitness facilities."

For the time being the improvements to Belvoir Drive will quell rumours that spoke of a move away from the Aylestone site to a greenfield location and Neville hopes that with first-class facilities will come top flight football.

"This is a massive improvement and we feel we are up to a level now where, while we are probably not on the same level as the top Premier League clubs, we are at a Premier League level we want to be at and maintain."

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Eriksson spoilt for choice by fully-fit Foxes

Sven Goran Eriksson will be spoilt for choice ahead of Sunday's Championship game against Birmingham City at St Andrews (KO 13:00, live on BBC One) with five first team regulars set to challenge for a highly-coveted starting role.

Paul Gallagher remains the only doubt - he has been out for four weeks following an ankle injury picked-up in the 1-1 draw against Barnsley - with the Scot set to return to full training only at the end of this week.

However, Richie Wellens (groin) and Michael Johnson (shoulder) both trained with the rest of the Leicester City first team today and are set to challenge for a starting berth in a highly competitive midfield. Andy King, sidelined over the weekend with a back complaint, did not appear for Wales but will be in contention for the Foxes, as will Jermaine Beckford who has shrugged-off a groin injury. Sven Goran Eriksson is confident that at least four of the five injured players will be competing to return to action with the Foxes on Sunday.

"They are all getting better and Wellens and Johnson have joined in full training," said the Leicester boss, "Then we have Beckford, Gallagher and King. I am pretty sure they might be available, all of them, for Birmingham. I hope they can train today or Thursday. If that is the case, they could be available. Gallagher has been out for a while so he is doubtful, but the other two have a good chance. King has a back problem, but it is not serious. The problem is you can't really move with a back injury, but he is improving."

Eriksson is keen to see his side build on recent successes in the league and, having gone four league games without conceding with his team in good form, altering his starting line up could be seen as a controversial move.

"It would be good to have them all back and have the problem of who to pick," added the Swede, "It's good news for us and will be some headache to have."

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

St Ledger enjoying Irish life despite Leicester "nightmare"

Sean St Ledger has spoken of his "nightmare" time since joining Leicester City ahead of tonight's European Championship qualification fixture between Armenia and the Republic of Ireland.

The Irish international, buoyed by the faith shown in him by Republic coach Giovanni Trapattoni, admitted to Irish newspaper the Herald how he yearns to appear for his club but must be content with sitting on the sidelines for the time being.

"I haven't even made the bench for the last few games with the club and that's frustrating. It's not down to injury, it's purely tactical," said the defender, "It's hard to get angry with [Sven Goran Eriksson] as he's such a nice man and a good person, he's brilliant to work under. I want to be successful at Leicester. It's a massive club with great potential so I have to keep working as hard as I can to stay in there."

St Ledger earned his 21st cap as the Republic beat Armenia 2-1 this evening but is becoming increasingly frustrated at club level. He believes that to succeed internationally, he must be making regular appearances for the Foxes.

"Maybe I need to go on loan to get some football for the time being. If we do get to the play-offs I need to be playing if I am to stay in the team and if I'm going to be match fit," continued St Ledger, "I feel fine and sharp but it's difficult and personally frustrating for me to be not playing for my club... It's a bit of a nightmare at the moment, to be honest. I want to play but to keep my place with the Ireland team I need to be playing at club level regularly and I haven't been doing that."

With consecutive clean sheets racking-up, Eriksson is unlikely to disrupt a back line that have hit form in recent weeks, with Matt Mills and Sol Bamba forging a formidable centre back partnership that have seen the Foxes now go four league games without conceding.

"It's not easy when you can't even make the bench," St Ledger went on, "You only have five subs on the bench in the Championship and our right back can play centre half so they have other options. I just have to deal with it, but it's been a very frustrating period... I have spoken to the manager about it and he said he'll speak to me again after the international break. We have only three centre halves at the club and if one of them gets injured then I am back in the team, but it's not easy."

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

"We'll see" on Beckham - Eriksson

Royal Blue: How Beckham might look for Foxes
Sven Goran Eriksson has once again stated his firm intention to lure David Beckham to the King Power Stadium - and insists that the former England captain will not refuse his offer.

Beckham - made permanent skipper of the England team during Eriksson's spell as head coach - will be a free agent after the expiry of his current deal with LA Galaxy at the end of the season. The Swede hopes that the 36-year-old midfielder will rejoin him as a player/coach.

"We will give him a whistle and he can go out [on the training pitch] straight away," said Eriksson, "I have already had that discussion with him. I spoke to him about Leicester."

The signing of Beckham would be a major coup for Championship side Leicester who have not made such a high-profile signing since the capture of Roberto Mancini in 2001, the Manchester City manager falling in love with the English game after just four appearances in Foxes' royal blue. Whilst Beckham is without a club for next year - and keen to return to England in a bid to represent his country in the 2012 Olympic football tournament - the club's Thai owners remain interested in the possibility of securing Beckham.

With the Foxes without a first-team coach following the departure of Dietmar Hamann to Stockport County in July - and King Power seeking a mega star to launch their duty-free brand in the west - big-spending Leicester could be a perfect move for Beckham if he wishes to continue in football beyond his LA Galaxy contract.

"The big thing is what he wants to do when his contract finishes in LA," added Eriksson, "Will he want to go on playing? Beckham, he will never say no to me - he says, 'Sven, we'll see, we'll see'."

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Injuries "not serious": Foxes trio set for Brum return

Sven Goran Eriksson has confirmed that injuries to Jermaine Beckford (groin), Richie Wellens (groin) and Michael Johnson (shoulder) are not serious and all three are expected to be in contention when the Foxes face Birmingham City a week on Sunday.

"They have had scans," said the Leicester manager, "But the injuries are not too serious and they will have the international break to help them, so they should be back for the next game."

The televised match, live on BBC One at 13:00, will present an interesting challenge for Eriksson as he looks to include the three high-profile players in his match day squad without disrupting the side which played so well and hit Derby County for four last weekend.

Meanwhile, Eriksson has confirmed that midfielder Matt Oakley still has a role to play at the King Power Stadium, despite his departure on loan to League One Exeter City last week.

"I am sure Matt Oakley would go into the team tomorrow, as a right-back or midfielder, and do a good job," said Eriksson, "He is one of our fittest players. If you did a running test now he would win it.

"He needs to play football. It is not good for him to be training every day and not even sitting on the bench. It will be very good for him now."

Full-back Tom Kennedy has also left the club on loan as he joins Peterborough United. Kennedy did not feature in Posh's 2-1 defeat to Doncaster Rovers, whilst Oakley played 90 minutes in the Grecians' 2-0 triumph over Oldham Athletic.