Leicester City Preview - Home, February 14
MONEY-BAGS LEICESTER visit Vicarage Road on Tuesday night at the Championship begins to hot up once more as we head into the spring.
The Foxes have confounded expectations for all the wrong reasons so far this campaign but yet, thanks to the nature of this division they retain hope of a top-six spot.
A squad packed with highly-paid, largely-experienced players, a huge fan base, loaded owners and top-draw stadium, Leicester City is a club waiting to take off.
The high-profile departure of Sven Goran Eriksson was the price for a slow start to a campaign which was expected to be a procession for a side that had the spending prowess of the Foxes.
Eriksson's short-lived tenure had at least outlasted that of his predecessor who had replaced current manager, Nigel Pearson.
Pearson of course left the club the first-time round when Hull City enquired after his services. An apparent lack of interest from then-owner Milan Mandaric in keeping Pearson at the club saw the former Southampton boss move on.
A solid job of steadying a very wobbly ship in Humberside saw Pearson's stock grow and when the big-name appointment failed to pay off, the club's Thai owners came to the door of a man who had delivered promotion and a Play-Off appearance in two seasons.
If early indications are to be read into, Pearson will be entirely different in his style to the former England boss who he succeeded. Whilst Eriksson favoured the big names with big wage packets and top-flight experience, Pearson has set about things different.
This shift in transfer policy saw just three new permanent additions made in the January Transfer Window.
Former Nottingham Forest powerhouse Wes Morgan crossed the East Midlands divide in a deal worth £1m to the financially-beleaguered Forest.
Also arriving was former Stoke City winger, Ben Marshall, 20. The former Potter made his name in the Football League with two impressive loan spells at Carlisle United and an equally explosive stint at Sheffield Wednesday. Pearson paid a seven-figure fee to get his man who was highly-sought after in the second-tier.
Finally, former Watford loanee Danny Drinkwater left Old Trafford for good, completing a permanent switch to the King Power Stadium. The midfielder had impressed on loan at Barnsley for the first-half of the campaign, prompting Pearson to swoop for the 21 year-old.
Pearson also brought in Aston Villa's young striker, Nathan Delfouneso on loan from Villa Park.
All-in-all, that leaves the Foxes with an excellent chance of making a late surge into the Play Off zone, but equally they are just five points ahead of the Hornets.
Homegrown midfielder Andy King is a doubt following an achilles problem whilst Jeffery Schlupp and Darius Vassell are long-term absentees. Striker Martyn Waghorn has a hamstring problem.
Centre-back Sol Bamba has returned from African Cup of Nations heart break after losing to Zambia on penalties in the final with the Ivory Coast.
Watford are 'sweating' on the fitness of striker Troy Deeney who would be replaced by Chris Iwelumo if he fails to make the clash.
Watford: Loach; Hodson, Mariappa, Nosworthy, Doyley; Murray, Eustace (c), Hogg, Kacaniklic; Deeney & Garner.
Leicester City: Schmeichel; Peltier, Mills (c), St. Ledger, Konchesky; Dyer, Drinkwater, Wellens, Gallagher; Beckford & Nugent.
Match Officials: (R) Mr D Webb; (ARs) MR E Kaye & Mr A Laver; (4th) Mr D Rock.