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Leicester City Preview (A) - April 26

Watford head to the King Power Stadium this Friday to take on Leicester City live on Sky knowing that only a win will keep them in the hunt for automatic promotion.

With a four-point gap between Hull City and the Hornets, Gianfranco Zola's side cannot afford to slip-up if they are to leapfrog the Humberside outfit.

A win for Hull against Barnsley on Saturday would however put Watford's slim automatic promotion hopes to bed, regardless of the result against Leicester on Friday.

Taking all those permutations into consideration, the game holds much greater significance for seventh-placed Leicester who trail sixth-placed Bolton Wanderers by a point.

If Nigel Pearson's side were to take anything from Friday's game, they would climb into the play-offs, albeit only temporarily.

Leicester had been virtual ever-presents in the top six after a slow start to the campaign, even holding second spot through January and February.

However, a woeful run of form which has seen them win just two of their last 15 in the npower Championship means the Foxes are now scrapping for the right to extend their season.

Having invested heavily in the playing squad throughout the course of the season, the failure to at least secure a play-off spot would presumably not go down well by Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

The most recent addition to Pearson's playing staff was striker Chris Wood, who signed in January from West Bromwich Albion.

New Zealand international Wood had just completed a successful loan stint at Millwall, where he bagged 11 Championship goals from just 18 starts.

A full Kiwi's international with 30 senior caps and 10 goals to his name, the 6'3' frontman initially signed on-loan for City in order to make his debut for the Foxes against Huddersfield Town, scoring twice for his new club.

With the formalities on a permanent deal completed, Wood went on to help himself to a further four goals in his next two games.

Having spent the early part of his playing career in New Zealand, Wood moved to England in 2009 to join the Baggies, but made just six league starts during a four-year stay at the Hawthorns.

A tour of the Championship and League One followed with loan spells at Brighton, Barnsley, Birmingham, Bristol City and Millwall before finally settling in Leicestershire.

In total, the Auckland-born striker has scored 41 league goals from just 92 starts.

Supplying the ammunition for Wood is homegrown midfielder, Andy King.

The Foxes' number 10 was actually born in Barnstaple and has represented Wales at U19, U21 and senior level since 2007 but is one of few players to have progressed through the club's academy.

Now 24, King made his Foxes' bow in October 2007 and scored a memorably first goal for the club two months later as he lashed home from distance in the 2-1 loss to Southampton.

After 11 appearances in the Championship, relegation to League One saw King become a regular in the side and he made 45 appearances in the third tier as City were promoted at the first time of asking.

King went on to make over 40 appearances in the following two seasons, enjoying his best season in front of goal during 2010-11 campaign as he hit the net 15 times in the league.

In 240 appearances in all competitions for the club, King has struck 50 goals from the centre of midfield.

Pearson has a fully-fit squad ahead of Watford's visit but Zola has no such luxury.

Defenders Tommie Hoban, Nyron Nosworthy, Neuton and Fitz Hall are all out along with Connor Smith.

Skipper John Eustace played during Tuesday's training ground win over Dagenham & Redbridge and could make Zola's matchday squad.

Predicted line-ups:

Leicester City:
Schmeichel; de Laet, Morgan (c), Keane, Konchesky; Dyer, King, James, Knockaert; Schlupp & Wood.

Watford: Almunia (c); Cassetti, Ekstrand, Doyley; Anya, Abdi, Hogg, Chalobah, Pudil; Deeney & Forestieri.

Referee: Mr C Pawson.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tom Bodell Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday April 24 2013

Time: 5:06PM

 

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