Date:Thursday March 23 2006
To anyone who watched Leicester City Reserves on Tuesday it might seem strange to read that City are supposedly considering signing Finnish International Tuomas Haapala on loan as midfield cover.
Haapala, from Manchester City, didn't have a bad game in midfield, but was largely anonymous in City's 2-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur Reserves at Hinckley.
However he was totally overshadowed in that department by seasoned Academy and Reserves player Levi Porter.
It was Porter who was like a little Napoleon trying to prompt his troops.
It was Porter who turned up on the left wing and floated a wonderful cross for the unmarked Gradel to miss the chance of a volleyed goal.
It was Porter who apeared at left back to break up a Spurs attack and launch the move which led to another excellent opportunity for Louis Dodds.
It was Porter who commanded midfield against an experienced Spurs side and spread the ball to left and right flanks in an effort to inspire his colleagues.
It was Porter who dribbled his way so deftly out of tight situations and Porter who never stopped running until the final whistle.
If you were giving marks for the night's effort Porter might have rated 7.5 to 8 against Haapala's 5.5 or 6 because, apart from one shot, it is hard to recall anything of significance from the 26-year-old Finn.
He was alright. Steady. A decent pass or two here and there, goodish awareness of players around him. Reasonably involved.
But nothing like as effective as Porter.
And Porter has produced that sort of display a few times now in midfield after being switched from the wing.
He struggled at first but now seems to have more and more of the Wesolowski look about him. Being combative is not his main strength but he was easily as aggressive and harrassing as Haapala while displaying much more imagination in possession.
City manager Rob Kelly admits his first team midfield is stretched.
Haapala is currently training with Leicester having joined Manchester City in December on a six-month contract from Finnish champions MyPa-47, where he was captain. He won his only international cap against Estonia in October.
Kelly told the Blue Army website: He is not getting into the Manchester City first-team at the moment.'
On Tuesday's evidence you wouldn't expect him to.
But you might think Porter had a chance of getting onto Leicester's bench as the midfield cover so desperately needed.
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|3. Man City||13||8||2||3||+14||26|
|6. West Ham||13||6||3||4||+4||21|
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