Wednesday, 30 March 2011

ADI unveil Foxes new big screens

Video screen manufacturer ADI have revealed the new screens that have been installed at the Walkers Stadium in time for Leicester City's next home fixture.

The 250,000-LED displays are designed as completely weatherproof and ultra-bright to be viewable even in direct sunlight. They are thought to be the most advanced video screens, as well as the first of their kind, to be fitted in the UK.

The giant screens - measuring 30 square metres - have been installed temporarily in two diagonally-opposite corners of the Walkers Stadium, ensuring every fan will have a view of the new technology, which will be used for live coverage, action replays and pre-match entertainment.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Oakley stands-down as skipper

Leicester City has a new club captain after Matt Oakley resigned his position earlier today.

Oakley, who signed a new deal to extend his stay in the East Midlands by a year yesterday, has given up the armband in favour of Andy King, the 22-year-old Welsh international who appeared against England this afternoon. Oakley feels that King, as a core part of the Foxes midfield, is better able to lead the club into the future.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Oakley puts pen to paper

Re-signed: Oakley in action for the Foxes reserves today
Foxes skipper Matt Oakley has signed a new contract that extends his current deal by a year. The ex-Derby man has played less of a prominent role of late as Leicester look towards the play-offs with Yuki Abe, Richie Wellens and young Andy King at the heart of the first team. Oakley has, however, much to offer off the pitch as well as on it, according to Sven Goran Eriksson.

"I am very happy that we have agreed an extension with Matt. He is not only a good football player, but he is an excellent professional.It is important for us to have people like Matt around the club, especially as we often have a young team out on the pitch. He has a positive influence on his colleagues and his experience in the game will be invaluable for us."

Oakley - along with first team regulars Lloyd Dyer, Paul Gallagher, Darius Vassell, Yakubu and Wellens - played a behind-closed-doors reserve team friendly against West Bromwich Albion this afternoon. The strong Foxes side, also including the returning from injury Aleksandar Tunchev and Steve Howard, lost out by a single goal from Baggies' striker Simon Cox.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Senegal international Kamara joins Foxes

Loan: Kamara joins the Foxes
Senegalese international Diomansy Kamara has become the latest addition to Sven Goran Eriksson's squad as he joined Leicester City on loan today until the end of the season.

Kamara, 30, first came to England when he was signed by Portsmouth in 2004. Since then he has flourished at West Bromwich Albion and now Fulham, moving to the west London club after an impressive 23 goals led the Baggies to the Premier League in 2007. The Paris-born striker now hopes to repeat that feat in the East Midlands.

"Hopefully he will score goals," said Eriksson, "His record is very good. We hope he can help us win more games and score more goals. I like pace, especially in strikers and he has pace. If King and Yakubu don't score, defenders have been scoring, but you can't ask defenders to be scoring all the time: normally it has to be a big goalscorer."

In other news, Foxes goalkeeper Conrad Logan has extended his stay at League One Bristol Rovers for a further month as he continues to seek first team football.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Conclusions from Portsmouth

(HT 0-1)

Nugent 13

Att: 26,645
BBC Match Report

  • Show some conviction! It was almost a confidence thing - the Foxes seemed unable to attempt an actual shot on goal in the first half of this game, with chances limited mostly to headers and the odd rash attempt from Mr Yakubu. Leicester were frustrated by a Portsmouth side pressing high up the pitch and, even when breaking through the midfield like Yuki Abe did in the closing stages of the first forty-five, were unable to convert a half chance into a real attempt on goal. It was... odd.
  • A golden opportunity, wasted. Almost every result went Leicester City's way today. Every result, that is, except their own. A last-ditch equaliser in a game such as this can change a season. As it is, only the true optimists will be looking for the promotion push to continue now. It's nearly time to give up, focus on rebuilding for next season and look to the future. Whatever went wrong today, we were poor against a Portsmouth side that pushed forward and pressurised our back line to great effect.

Yuki Abe
Another sound performance under what must be terrible circumstances for the only Japanese player in the Football League. Abe was once more here, there and everywhere as he found himself covering for absent defenders as well as, increasingly, pressing forward.

Sol Bamba
Guilty of two poor headers, the first leading to a chance that was dealt with well by a sliding Ricardo, the second leading to the opening goal. Under little pressure the Ivorian's defensive header was flat and fell easily to David Nugent who made no mistake in slotting the ball past a flapping goalkeeper. Pompey should have sealed their victory with ten minutes left after Bamba stood waiting for an offside flag that never came, the defender's blushes only saved by the Portsmouth striker's poor finishing.

Despite putting in more of a shift than usual, Yakubu's technique was way off this afternoon. His shooting was erratic and control, at times, questionable. Shooting wide on more than one occasion when one-on-one and firing way, way over as the Foxes looked to grab a late point... this just isn't good enough for a player of his supposed calibre.

Mr Paul Tierney, Lancashire
Some very bizarre calls from the referee resulted in a hostile atmosphere this afternoon. He kept his cards in his pocket for far too long as Portsmouth defenders hacked away at The Yak as they committed six fouls in the first twenty-five minutes. It took an injury to Ben Mee after a horrendous tackle before a Pompey player saw yellow. His worst decision, however, came as the visitor's Hreidarsson laid injured off the pitch and, from a Foxes throw-in that led to Yakubu bearing-down on goal, blew for play to be stopped. There is nothing in the Laws of the Game to say that was a correct decision and, much as referees should be respected and given the benefit of the doubt, there has to be consistency if footballers - and fans - are to have any faith in them.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Key foursome to pen new deals

Key: Wellens, Gallagher and King celebrate with Lloyd Dyer
Leicester City's key men are set to sign new deals having been offered extended terms by Sven Goran Eriksson in the wake of Saturday's emphatic win over Scunthorpe United.

Paul Gallagher is closest to agreeing a new contract at the Walkers Stadium, whilst midfielder Richie Wellens is also tipped to be agreeing to new terms in the coming days. 

Andy King, meanwhile, looks set to sign a deal that would see the terms of his current contract enhanced, with Eriksson describing the young Welsh international as a key player for the Foxes future.

"They haven't signed yet but I hope they will," noted the Swede on BBC Radio Leicester,  "I think we should do everything to try to keep them."

In the mean time, youth team prospect Jeffrey Schlupp has secured a new professional contract at the club that will see him remain in the East Midlands until June 2013. The German under-19 international has joined Brentford on a month-long loan as he looks to gain some first-team experience in the Football League.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Conclusions from Glanford Park

Scunthorpe United0-3Leicester
(HT 0-1)

Vitor 31, 72
Naughton 76

Att: 6,528
BBC Match Report

  • It worked well. Oh ye of little faith, Sven Goran Eriksson's perseverance even in the quagmire of Glanford Park worked. That the Foxes set up in their usual formation and played passing, flowing football from the back that paid-off in a classy performance. The opener admittedly came from a set piece but overall this performance was assured and controlled under tricky circumstances.
  • Three vital points. Particularly on days where the likes of Burnley lose ground, it is vital that Leicester capitalise and grab points when they can: even more so that the Foxes take chances to optimise their currently appalling goal difference that stands at just one solitary goal.

Yuki Abe
A super performance from the Japanese international made simply stunning considering the circumstances of his homeland prior to the start of this game. Abe played having been assured of his family's safety following the catastrophic effects of yesterday's earthquake and he did everything but find the net as he guided the Foxes midfield like a true professional. This was commitment to the Leicester City cause from Abe and that should certainly be commended.

Miguel Vitor
Equally at home in either eighteen-yard box, Vitor found the net to put Leicester ahead after making a solid return to the back four in the opening stages and capitalised in the second half to grab a superb brace. His partnership with Sol Bamba looked assured and as a pair they seem to complement each other nicely. This was a good performance from the Benfica loanee, who is quietly showing his worth as a potential transfer target for a permanent move come the summer.

Paul Gallagher
Two delicious crosses, two easy goals. Three assists in total for the Scot: Gally did exactly what he needed to do this afternoon.

Richie Wellens, Kyle Naughton and Ben Mee
Solid performances from the club's Mr Dependables.

Yakubu and Darius Vassell
Too many touches on the ball, barely enough effort off it: Yakubu has disappointed many since his debut at Preston and the goals that followed have seemingly dried-up. Likewise, Darius Vassell has not found the net often enough for the Foxes, even though on balance his contributions away from goal are substantial. Maybe it's time for a change up top? This game more than any other this season shows how poor the front men have been in front of goal lately - all of today's goals came from defenders with the forwards barely having a sniff.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Conclusions from Norwich City

Leicester2-3Norwich City
(HT 1-1)
Wellens 23
Gallagher 90+4
Hoolahan 21
Holt pen 49
Wilbraham 59

Att: 23,398
BBC Match Report

  • Sunday morning football at the Walkers. Poor near-post defending from Yakubu cost Leicester a goal as Wes Hoolahan beat him with an easy header. That lead lasted seconds before Richie Wellens took advantage of a howler from Chris Foy, the referee missing Matt Oakley's handball to wave play on and hand the opportunity to Wellens who made no mistake to head home. From then, the Foxes were reminiscent of a Sunday League outfit, guilty of mistakes at both ends of the pitch. This was not the fault of one player - this was a dire team display.
  • Down and out? So. Farewell then Leicester City's hopes of promotion. Eight points adrift of the play-off places the dreams of automatic promotion of a month ago seem a long way away now. That night at the Cardiff City Stadium seems even more remote. Only a miracle could have saved the Foxes in this dark second period - and neither Martyn Waghorn nor Paul Gallagher could provide one tonight. This could well go down as the night that Leicester City stopped being play-off hopefuls and became, instead, a mid-table mediocrity. 
  • Paul Gallagher's free kick was sublime. A pity, therefore, it came only in the last seconds of the game and served only as an utterly academic statistic. The one consolation from this result is that, in terms of the scoreline, the utter disgrace that was the Foxes' performance was hidden by a farcical one goal deficit. Farcical? Because Norwich deserved more.

Bruno Berner
The forgotten man far too often, Berner not only delivered a blinder of a cross to feed Richie Wellens for the Foxes equaliser, he continued to ask the question of the Norwich defence throughout the game. Pushing forward, it was at times difficult to remember that the full back he was up against is nearly a decade his junior. A sterling performance from Leicester's model professional.

Richie Wellens
Insert regular superlatives here.

The lad needs to put some effort in if he is to prove himself at Leicester. There is no doubting his ability and skill, but he needs to put in a full shift - and avoid silly defensive errors - to become beloved of Foxes fans. His poor shooting tonight may well have cost Leicester a play-off place.

21-odd thousand Blue Army
What a poor way to spend your money on a Tuesday night. You'd have had a better time, as a Leicester fan, walking through western Libya in a Gaddafi mask.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Conclusions from Loftus Road

Queens Park Rangers1-0Leicester
(HT 0-0)
Miller 88

Att: 18,068
BBC Match Report

  • Solid, if unexplosive. For the first half Leicester played an understated, pressing style of football that seemed to knock the wind out of QPR's sails. The Rs did break forward and, at times, threatened the Leicester goal - worrying times for Foxes fans with Ricardo between the sticks. The Foxes nonetheless defended well and could be disappointed after the first 45 minutes to not go in with at least one goal to their credit.
  • It was great to see a Foxes side going for it. Despite the more contained, defensive approach of a 4-4-2 formation adopted by Sven Goran Eriksson, Leicester continually pushed and pried to find a goal. That they did so even late in the game, away from home against the league leaders could perhaps be a criticism as the Hoops stole a late goal on the break, robbing the travelling fans of a satisfied journey back to the Midlands.
  • The season may now lie in tatters. Results going as they did today, the Foxes have been leapfrogged in the Championship by the likes of Burnley and now what three games ago looked like an automatic promotion prospect now looks like a battle to scrape into the play-offs. To not reach that objective would be crushing and without a result against a hard to beat Norwich side on Tuesday evening... the future looks bleak.

Jeffrey Bruma and Ben Mee
The young defenders had a superb first half, tracking back to defend well but also distributing the ball nicely further up the pitch, Mee in particular carrying the ball down the wing like a seasoned full-back and not the young centre half he is.

The Nigerian forward seemed to thrive in a partnership with Vassell up front, his usual 'lazy' demeanour replaced so that, at times, he appeared to show some dedication to the cause. His glorious attempted lob over Paddy Kenny should have seen the Foxes ahead after twenty-odd minutes but only the goalkeeper's superb athletics prevented that from happening. Yakubu continued to press well, creating opportunities for himself but also feeding others. It's probably true that the switch to 4-4-2 benefited the Yak more than any other Foxes player this afternoon.

Martyn Waghorn
Waghorn could have made a hero of Eriksson and his tactical nous when he nearly scored with his first touches of the game. Once more only Kenny's reactions prevented Leicester from taking the lead as Waghorn beat his man before his chip-shot was flicked away by the QPR goalkeeper. His introduction to the game was the right one to make as Darius Vassell flagged in the second half, but his impact only went so far and, crucially, no goal was becoming of the ex-Sunderland man.

Richie Wellens
Another, as anticipated, top performance from the midfielder - in both attack and, crucially, defence.

His constant desire to punch the ball clear may be effective in Portuguese football, but in the Championship a goalkeeper's ability to catch the ball and hold it for a few seconds aids teams in slowing-down play and disrupting the opposition's flow. Ricardo was guilty of some dodgy clearances again this afternoon - only sheer luck prevented him 'doing a SzczÄ™sny' as the Hoops pushed-on at the start of the second half.

Davies seeks Oakley reunion

Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies is looking to take Leicester City club captain Matt Oakley to the City Ground in a shock move for the former Derby County skipper.

Oakley worked closely with Davies when the Rams were last in the Premier League and now, seeking to support his side's promotion ambitions, wants the Foxes' midfielder to join the Trees.

According to the Daily Mirror Davies hopes to persuade Sven Goran Eriksson to allow Oakley to leave on loan for the remainder of the season, whilst others suspect Oakley may have initiated negotiations with his former manager as he looks to secure a contract for next season. 

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Everton's £6m chase for King begins

On his way? King celebrates scoring
Everton have been linked with a move for Andy King that could be worth £6 million (give or take a Yakubu) to Sven Goran Eriksson's Leicester City.

The young Welshman's star has risen since joining the Foxes' academy from Chelsea as a schoolboy in 2004 and now he plies his trade at the heart of the Leicester midfield. King's record for the East Midlands outfit is outstanding.

In his first full season as a senior professional at the club, he scored nine goals from midfield to aid his side gain promotion back to the Championship, earning the club's Young Player of the Year Award in the process. Last season the 22-year-old shared the Players' Player of the Year Award with defender Jack Hobbs, whilst to date he has netted a staggering fifteen times this season.

King is certainly a red-hot prospect - at 22 he is not yet a polished diamond, but still a rough stone - and would be sorely missed should David Moyes or anyone else decide to tempt him away from his adopted home town.

Everton would be a good side for King to join - Moyes has a sound record of nurturing Championship talent into Premier League stars and his style of play would suit him - but the talent of the Welshman is surely such that he could command a place at the heart of one of England's biggest clubs. Who knows, perhaps a two-figure offer from a Chelsea or a Manchester United could be in the reckoning?

For now, however, he remains a crucial part of a midfield threesome that must stay strong to aid Eriksson achieve his ambitions of taking Leicester City back to the Premier League, back to where they - and Andy King - belong.