Monday, 30 January 2012

Ben Marshall signs for Leicester

Winger: Ben Marshall
Stoke City winger Ben Marshall has completed a £1 million move to Leicester City.

The highly-rated 20-year-old has seen his chances limited with the Potters since joining the West Midlands club in 2009. His youth career began at Manchester United before a spell at Crewe Alexandra and he has played league football on loan at Cheltenham Town, Northampton Town and Carlisle United. Marshall has spent this season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, scoring five times in his 22 appearances for Gary Megson's Owls.

Marshall has agreed a three-and-a-half year deal to keep him at the King Power Stadium until June 2015 and City manager Nigel Pearson is delighted with his latest addition to his squad.

"Ben is a talented player and we are delighted he has joined the Club," said Pearson, "I have spoken recently about the need to address the balance of the squad and Ben will help us to do that. He is happy playing on either the left or right flank, has settled in straight away and gives us more attacking options.

"Ben comes to us with a good footballing pedigree, having worked within the Manchester United and Crewe Alexandra youth set-ups and has shown the desire to move his career forward by joining us from a Premier League club. We are all looking forward to seeing him in action."

Edited 31/01/2012 19:39 following confirmation from the club to include quotes from Nigel Pearson.

Foxes seal Morgan deal

Leicester City are set to confirm the capture of Nottingham Forest centre-half Wes Morgan, according to Sky Sports.

Morgan is thought to have penned at two-and-a-half year deal at the King Power Stadium in a move worth up to a million pounds.

The 28-year-old has played-out his entire career to date with Forest but was linked with a move away from the City Ground earlier in the month. He has made over 350 appearances for the Nottingham club since graduating from the club's academy in 2002.

Morgan will add valuable depth to Nigel Pearson's thin squad and strength to a defence that has been hampered with inconsistency throughout this season. However, the acquisition of Morgan has raised questions that Sol Bamba - currently on international duty with the Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations - could be set for a departure.

Meanwhile, sources close to the club have indicated that a fee has been agreed with Stoke City for winger Ben Marshall.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Leicester face Norwich trip

Leicester City will travel to Carrow Road to play Norwich City for the fifth round of this season's FA Cup.

The two sides have met three times before in the FA Cup, with the Foxes being victorious on each occasion. That includes Carrow Road's record attendance of 43,984 set when the Canaries hosted Leicester in the sixth round in the 1962/63 season.

The tie is due to be played on the weekend of 18-19th February, although that is subject to change as the Foxes are set to play Birmingham City in the Championship the same weekend. Indeed, fixture congestion may become an issue for Leicester as they play mid-week games either side of the FA Cup fifth round weekend.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

FA Cup Round 4 Conclusions from Swindon

Leicester City2-0Swindon Town
(HT 1-0)
Beckford 5, 53

King Power Stadium, attendance: 19,942
BBC Match Report

Friday, 27 January 2012

Police investigate Nugent hate Tweets

Hampshire Constabulary have launched an investigation into abuse received by David Nugent on social networking site Twitter.

The Foxes' striker, who at first shrugged-off the abuse as "banter", was quick to condemn Southampton fans who 'mentioned' him on the site after they crossed the line. He was offended by tweets that urged him to kill himself, with one urging him to "go Gary Speed yourself". The former Wales manager was found hanged at his home last month.

Nugent, a former player with Saints' arch-rivals Portsmouth, found sympathy with some Southampton supporters who knew the line had been crossed.

"As a Saints fan I'm gobsmacked at some of the comments you've had," wrote one, "You may be an ex-skate but nobody deserves that."

Mark Etheridge posted: "Banter is banter but what you have had in the last few days is horrid. Sorry, from a life-long Saints fan."

Neither Southampton Football Club nor Leicester City have commented, whilst Hampshire Constabulary have confirmed that despite not receiving any complaints, they are looking into the matter.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Conclusions from St Mary's

Southampton0-2Leicester City
(HT 0-2)

Nugent 15
Mills 26

St Mary's, attendance: 21,014
BBC Match Report

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Foxes seal Delfouneso loan deal

Loan deal: Nathan Delfouneso
Leicester City have captured Nathan Delfouneso on loan from Aston Villa for a month, according to media reports.

The six-feet-tall striker has also been utilised as a winger and will strengthen Nigel Pearson's options in attack. He has netted three times in 25 appearances for the Villains and scored once on loan with Burnley, for whom he played 11 games.

Delfouneso is yet to make his mark at senior international level but has consistently appeared for England at under-16, under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels. His attempts to break into Alex McLeish's Villa side have been limited this season and he joins the Foxes seeking regular first-team football.

Delfouneso is Leicester's second acquisition of the January transfer window and will go straight into the squad to face Southampton at St Mary's tomorrow evening (KO 19:45).

Yuki Abe leaves Foxes to make Japan return

Abe: Back to Japan
Leicester City midfielder Yuki Abe has left the King Power Stadium and will return to former club Urawa Reds, Of Fosse and Foxes understands.

The popular Japanese international earned just short of sixty appearances for the Foxes in an eighteen month spell with the club, arriving as one of the more successful acquisitions of the Paulo Sousa era and cementing his place in Sven Goran Eriksson's team. He has failed to impress himself upon current manager Nigel Pearson, however, and with the arrival of Manchester United midfielder Danny Drinkwater at the end of last week it appears Abe has taken an opportunity to return to his homeland.

It is not yet known whether Abe's former club Urawa Reds has paid for the midfielder's release or whether his contract with the Foxes has been mutually cancelled, but what is clear is that Abe's place will need a big man to fill it.

He endeared himself to Leicester City's fans with a determined outlook that saw him take classes with language experts at De Montfort University to aid in his learning of English. He proved to be a reliable and consistent player at the heart of the Foxes' midfield - even attracting attention from Manchester City at one stage - and he offered a steadying hand in contrast to the more aggressive games of Andy King and Richie Wellens.

Abe scored twice during his time in England with a goal in the Foxes' 4-2 win against Ipswich Town last year and he netted the winner as the Foxes beat Brighton and Hove Albion by a single goal in September. 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Foxes snare United midfielder Drinkwater

New Fox: Danny Drinkwater
Leicester City look certain to have completed their first transfer deal of the January transfer window with the capture of promising Manchester United midfielder Danny Drinkwater for an undisclosed fee.

According to Sky Sports, the 21-year-old has signed a three-year deal at the King Power Stadium having ended his loan deal at Barnsley early.

Drinkwater is said to have impressed Foxes' boss Nigel Pearson with his display for the Tykes against Leicester. He was involved in the creation of both goals as City went down to a 1-2 home defeat and will provide useful cover for the injured Andy King, who was last night ruled out for the season with an Achilles injury.

Drinkwater will go straight into the Foxes' squad to face Southampton at St Mary's on Monday night.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

FA Cup Round 3 Replay Conclusions from Forest

Leicester City4-0Nottingham Forest
(HT 2-0)
Boateng og 7
Beckford 30, 50, 57

King Power Stadium, attendance: 16,210
BBC Match Report

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Pearson given three games to save his job

Nigel Pearson has been given three games to turn around the fortunes of ailing Leicester City or face the prospect of losing his job, Of Fosse and Foxes understands.

Under pressure: Nigel Pearson may be out of a job in a fortnight
A source close to the club insists that should Pearson's side fail to pick up the pace against Nottingham Forest, Southampton and Middlesbrough he could be removed from the Leicester hot-seat, with the Foxes then looking for their third manager of the season.

Fans made their opinions clear as Leicester went down 1-2 at home to Barnsley on Saturday afternoon, with jeers ringing around the King Power Stadium at full time. Chants of "Pearson, sort it out" were heard during the second half and there have already been calls from some supporters for his resignation.

The Foxes' manager has hit back at that news, however, laying blame squarely at the door of former Leicester boss Sven Goran Eriksson. The Swede spent millions assembling a supposedly talented squad to take the Championship by storm but, with Leicester lying a lowly fifteenth in the nPower Championship tonight, it is Pearson who now faces the wrath of angry Foxes' followers.

"You can make what you want of how Leicester City's squad has been constructed. To my mind, it is unbalanced," said Pearson following the Barnsley defeat, "It should not be about collecting players. I go about it with the aim of building a team that functions as a team.

"I was brought here as a replacement because presumably things weren't right as far as the owners and fans were concerned. I need to breathe fresh life into the situation, because this was our worst result so far. Keeper Kasper Schmeichel being our best player tells you all you need to know.

"I believe I know what is wrong. I believe I can put it right. Is it a bigger job than I anticipated? Are there problems I didn't anticipate? I am just glad to be back here, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

Ruling-out big money moves, Pearson has nonetheless been keen to apply himself this January with a bid for Hull City's Cameron Stewart rejected and, despite acceptance of a reported £2 million for Doncaster Rovers' Billy Sharp, that player has rejected the chance of a move to the East Midlands leaving Pearson's squad as disjointed as it has been since August.

""My job is to improve the situation at the football club. I believe in building teams, I don't collect players. I'll be doing what I can to build a team here," continued the Foxes' manager, "I know exactly what is wrong with this football club and I'll be addressing that. It is a big job and I'll get it right."

Sharp rejects Leicester move

Doncaster Rovers striker has rejected a potential move to Leicester City, Of Fosse and Foxes understands.

Rovers had accepted an undisclosed bid from the Foxes for the 25-year-old but the player is understood to have opted against a move to the King Power Stadium. Sharp was offered the most expensive package in Doncaster's history in an attempt to see him remain at the Keepmoat Stadium.

""As far as I know Billy will be staying with us until the end of the season. That's a great boost for everybody," said Doncaster manager Dean Saunders, "He's indicated to me he's not going to Leicester but somebody else might come knocking.

"If he can win us six or seven games between now and the end of the season it's worth millions to the club. And if he gets six or seven winners he'll probably be worth £3.5million and have Premier League clubs looking at him.

"We've tried everything to make him stay and I'm pleased he is staying. There's a clause in his contract and if someone hits it - if Manchester United come in for him tomorrow - I'm sure he'll change his mind."

Conclusions from Barnsley

Leicester City1-2Barnsley
(HT 1-2)
Dyer 15Gray 12, 34

King Power Stadium, attendance: 22,116
BBC Match Report

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Foxes' home Boro fixture moved

Leicester City supporters have been dealt another blow as their home fixture against Middlesbrough has now been put back by 24 hours.

It follows recent upset over the movement of two local derby fixtures but on this occasion is due to a fixture clash and not for television coverage. Boro play Sunderland on Sunday, 29th January in an FA Cup fourth round tie, meaning that their game against the Foxes' will be postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday, 1st February.

City fans have been disgusted by fixture changes twice in the past fortnight. Their FA Cup third round replay against Nottingham Forest at the King Power Stadium has been moved from this Wednesday to Tuesday in order for it to be shown on ESPN, whilst the upcoming away day at Derby County has been "ruined" according to many supporters by BSkyB's decision to air that fixture on a Thursday evening.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Forest chants subject to Police 'hate' probe

Nottinghamshire Constabulary have launched an investigation in to what they have described as 'hate crimes' following what they deemed to be illicit chanting from Nottingham Forest supporters last weekend.

The chants, aimed at Leicester City fans at the City Ground during the dull East Midlands derby in the FA Cup third round, were filmed by a Forest supporter and uploaded onto YouTube. The clip shows Forest fans chanting, "You used to be English, you're not any more" to Foxes' supporters.

"The incident is being treated as a hate crime and we are reviewing CCTV footage and following up on a number of lines of inquiry," said Superintendent Mark Holland of the Nottinghamshire Constabulary, "We take all reports of racism very seriously and work extremely closely with the football clubs in Nottinghamshire in a bid to kick racism out of the game.

"There was some action taken on the day by the club that we are looking into," he told BBC Radio 5 Live this morning, "The nature of this could be deemed as racist and we are currently discussing the nature of the chanting with the Crown Prosecution Service to see if it would pass a threshold test should we wish to follow a criminal prosecution.

"If this is indeed aimed at the people of Leicester and not to do with the club's ownership, I'm sure the Crown Prosecution Service would take a view on this."

The issue of racism has come to the forefront of football in the past months, with Liverpool striker Luiz Suarez being banned for eight games by the FA following his abuse of Patrice Evra. England skipper John Terry faces a court case over words he said towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

The Police action has been met with criticism from both sets of supporters, however, who view the chanting not as racist, but merely as a dig at Leicester and their Thai-based owners. The Foxes have been subject to what many have deemed worse abuse from supporters of other clubs, who chanted slurs at Leicester fans regarding the high ethnic population in the city.

Indeed, Leicester fans countered the chants with one of their own, directed at Forest's meagre league position in comparison to their history, singing, "You used to be famous, you're not any more".

"Is that Forest chanting really racist?" wrote Tom Howe of Nottingham on Twitter, "To me it seem more about the club rather than Leicester itself."

The two clubs will replay their FA Cup third round tie at the King Power Stadium next week, with the fixture being moved forward by 24 hours to Tuesday, 17th January to be shown live on ESPN. Kick-off will be at 7:30pm.

Edited 11/01/12 11:16 - Included detail of interview with Mark Holland on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Schlupp out for eight weeks

Jeffrey Schlupp has confirmed that an injury sustained in yesterday's 0-0 draw at Nottingham Forest will result in him being sidelined for at least eight weeks.

The Ghanaian international injured his knee in a challenge within the first three minutes of the FA Cup third round tie and was substituted in the fifth minute. Schlupp had a scan this morning an confirmed the news on Twitter.

"Scan went better than I thought it would," said the 19-year-old striker, "Looking at around 8 weeks hopefully!"

He ended his tweet with the hashtag, "#FingersCrossed".

Foxes or Forest to face Swindon in FA Cup

Fourth round: Swindon
Leicester City will host Swindon Town should they proceed to the fourth round of the FA Cup.

The Foxes - who must beat Nottingham Forest in a replay next week to reach that stage - have never met the Robins in the competition but were beaten finalists against them in the 1993 Playoff Final. In total there have been nineteen meetings between the two clubs, with Leicester victorious on six occasions and Swindon on five. There have been eight stalemates between the two sides.

Forest travel to the King Power Stadium on Wednesday, 19th January following a dour goalless draw at the City Ground yesterday. The fourth round tie against Swindon will take place over the weekend of the 28-29th January.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Leicester agree fee with Doncaster for Sharp

Sharp: Striker has netted ten times this season
Doncaster Rovers have agreed a fee with Leicester City over the transfer of striker BiIly Sharp.

The 25-year-old - scorer of 40 goals in 80 appearances for Rovers - has been in demand, with bids from West Ham United and the Foxes declined last week. According to the BBC and Sky Sports News, however, an improved bid by Leicester has now been accepted, paving the way for Sharp to join strikers David Nugent and Jermaine Beckford at the King Power Stadium.

Sharp has a £1.85 million buy-out clause in his contract at the Keepmoat Stadium and manager Dean Saunders has now left the ball in the player's court.

"Dean Saunders said "it's up to Billy" as to where his future lies," said a statement on Doncaster's website, "Rovers can tonight confirm that a fee has been agreed between ourselves and Leicester City for striker Billy Sharp. Foxes manager Nigel Pearson has activated a clause in the contract of the 25-year old forward who has bagged 10 goals this season although personal terms are yet to be agreed."

Sharp was not included as Rovers were defeated 2-0 by League One Notts County in their FA Cup third round tie this afternoon and has bagged 10 goals in 18 appearances this season for Doncaster.

FA Cup Round 3 Conclusions from the City Ground

Nottingham Forest0-0Leicester City
(HT 0-0)

City Ground, attendance: 18,477 (7,848)
BBC Match Report

Friday, 6 January 2012

Ipswich keen on St Ledger move

Ipswich Town boss Paul Jewell has given the greatest indication yet of his intention to buy Leicester City defender Sean St Ledger.

The Irishman wants out from the King Power Stadium after failing to make his mark on the first team since joining from Preston North End for £1.2 million in the summer. St Ledger has become frustrated with a lack of first-team action and was transfer listed at his own request when the transfer window opened on New Year's Day. The 27-year-old is keen to remain in the frame when Giovanni Trapattoni selects his Republic of Ireland squad for Euro 2012.

"I’ve spoken to Leicester about Sean St Ledger’s availability. He is someone we’re interested in and are trying to pursue," said Jewell, "There are a few clubs in for him, one from Serie A. Whether we can get Sean to come here remains to be seen. Leicester have said they’ll be prepared to do something and we’re still talking to them to see if we can get the lad to come here."

Ipswich are looking to loan the centre half until the end of the season with a view to a permanent deal being done in the summer, whilst the link to an unknown Serie A team mentioned by Jewell is rumoured to have been set-up by Trapattoni.

City pair hear African calling

Two Leicester City players have been called up to represent their countries at this year's Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

African calling: Pantsil and Bamba could play in Gabon final
Sol Bamba and John Pantsil could both travel to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea to play in the 28th Cup of Nations, having been selected in provisional squads for their respective nations. Full back Pantsil will resume his place in the Ghanaian defence, facing Botswana, Guinea and Mali in Group D, whilst centre half Bamba will take his place in the Ivory Coast team - alongside former Fox Max Gradel - in Group B to play Sudan, Burkina Faso and Angola.

Young striker Jeffrey Schlupp has, however, missed-out on his chance to join Pantsil in the Ghana squad despite appearing for the Black Stars in their friendly match against Gabon last month.

Leicester have joined an elite group, being one of just two nPower Championship teams to be represented at this year's Cup of Nations - Birmingham's Guirane N'Daw could earn his 40th cap for Senegal - with only five Premier League clubs losing players to the tournament. Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle and Queens Park Rangers are the only top flight English clubs represented this year.

The group stages kick-off on 21st January and the final, in Libreville, closes the competition on 12th February. That means that Bamba and Pantsil could miss away games at Brighton and Watford and the home game against Cardiff City subject to their sides' progression, in addition to upcoming fixtures against Barnsley, Middlesbrough and Southampton that take place at the same time as the group stages. In addition, neither player will be available for tomorrow's FA Cup Third Round tie against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground (KO 3pm) due to training commitments with their national teams.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Fans angered as Derby fixture moved to Thursday

Leicester City fans have been left angry after the decision by British Sky Broadcasting to move the Foxes' visit to Derby County to a Thursday night.

The fixture - originally planned as a 3pm kick-off on Saturday, 25th February - has been moved forward by two days and will instead take place at Pride Park on Thursday 23rd and begin at 7:45pm. It will be shown live on Sky Sports, making it the third meeting in a row between the Rams and Foxes to be televised.

Despite Leicester's good record against Derby on television - the Foxes have won their last two meetings on TV against the Rams, including a 4-0 thumping in the reverse fixture this season - the move has angered many supporters who see a good away day being "ruined" by Sky.

"This is getting silly now," wrote one disgruntled Leicester supporter with another adding, "Who the hell will turn up to a game on Thursday night? What waste of a good away game."

"Derby away on a Thursday night is an absolute disgrace," said another on Twitter, "Sky really don't care about fans."

Derby supporters were equally unimpressed on their fans' forum: "I more than likely won't be able to go now!" said one, "Is there any good reason why this game is on a Thursday or is it a mistake?"

The Foxes' trip to Southampton has also been moved to a Monday night by Sky, necessitating a late 'school night' journey of some 325 miles. Meanwhile, in October, BBC live coverage of City's visit to Birmingham City saw that game put back to a Sunday lunchtime.

Monday, 2 January 2012

New Year Conclusions from Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace1-2Leicester City
(HT 1-2)
Parr 41Danns 19
Bamba 37
Howard off 87

Selhurst Park, attendance: 14,468
BBC Match Report