Date:Tuesday February 21 2006
People keep talking down the idea of Rob Kelly and Mike Stowell continuing to manage Leicester City after the summer but, as things stand, it seems hard to imagine any other scenario.
Eleven points in five League games, and not a single defeat, has transfomed a desperate situation but the point is that Kelly has fashioned the improvement with, essentially, the same players.
It is not a new team getting the results. It is the team that many fans thought were always capable of good things.
One big difference is that we have two additional players in Matty Fryatt and Chris O'Grady who are fastish, mobile and genuine frontmen and their presence has clearly lifted Iain Hume which is a bonus.
All satisfy the criteria for players this season which Kelly described at his talk-in with Foxes Trust members last night: young, fast tempo, ball on the ground, never quit and want to play for Leicester City.
With so many squad members fitting that profile now and so many young reserves signing new contracts can anyone be seriously considering the prospect of further managerial change in the summer?
Of course there will be ins and outs squad wise but essentially the material is in place for Leicester City's team of the future and no-one knows those players' strengths, weaknesses and personalities better than Kelly/Stowell.
Presumably the caginess is to do with the fact that the job of keeping Leicester in the Championship has not been done yet.
There are still 11 games to go, 33 points to fight for and things can change for the worse overnight.
Yet Kelly getting complacent is about as likely as Levein winning a sports psychologist of the year award.
The new regime is helping the team to win matches for solid reasons: playing with a proper strikeforce, fewer team changes, people playing where they are more suited, the showing of belief in people, players knowing what is expected of them, happy non-confrontational atmosphere, rallying the supporters and more.
Why should any or all of that change suddenly even if we suffer the odd defeat?.
And why when you've done so much hard work to assemble a young team with potential would you want to bring in someone else new in the summer to reshuffle the pack, re-fashion the team once more and perhaps waste what has been prepared?.
Because surely no new man/men would work better with this squad and a radical re-think is just not going to be a logical option on our budget...and why should it be?
Too right Kelly/Stowell should keep their minds focused on the next match, the next task...but good managers also have to think ahead, prepare for the future and the club will need to let them do that as surely they already are.
Why? Because a lot of last season's preparation seemed flawed. We went into the season weak in several positions and then lost our best striker without having time to get a replacement. It nearly cost us dearly.
Chief Executive Tim Davies light heartedly said Kelly might not want the job come the summer...
Yes, right! True Kelly won't want to get ahead of himself but he has every manager's dream at Leicester...a young, fast, brave and talented squad which wants to play for him and a good bunch of back-up staff to help engender his team-spirit ethic.
He'd want to give that up like he'd want to lose his right leg.
From recent performances and from the transformed atmosphere that has been experienced at the Walkers these last few weeks, many fans would seem to want Kelly and Co conducting these players whatever happens.
The real challenge will surely not be whether he can survive but whether he can be successful next season and entertaining with it...whether he is written in the club's history as a good manager who saved our club from potential embarrassment - or a legend alongside Matt Gillies and Martin O'Neill.
Hopefully the board are thinking that way too - even if they are not saying it out loud.
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|Leicester City||2||-||1||Sheff Wed|
|1. Leicester City||42||27||9||6||+35||90|
|3. Derby County||42||22||9||11||+27||75|
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