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Focus: Fringe men can make their mark

Focus: Fringe men can make their mark

We all mostly dislike international weekends if we're honest with ourselves.

Saturday usually spent watching our beloved side was probably endured entertaining kids, mowing the lawn, attempting DIY or shopping. Perhaps a combination of all four if you were unfortunate.

But for certain members of the Leicester squad, this weekend was a window of opportunity to show manager Paulo Sousa what he has been missing over the last few weeks.

Given City's below par opening to the season, Sousa will inevitably be seeking ways to turn the ship around and there are several willing candidates among the Foxes ranks willing to help him.

Injuries, of course, have not helped the situation during a difficult month. Matty Fryatt and Lloyd Dyer have been unavailable for parts of the campaign, and goalkeeper Chris Weale is still nursing a shoulder injury.

But in truth things just simply haven't been good enough, which is why we find ourselves just a place above the foot of the Championship table.

Sousa has a line of players knocking on the door for first team places, most notably Michael Morrison, Andy King, Paul Gallagher and perhaps even Fryatt himself.

All made strong claims for regular starting berths last season and were generally satisfied with what they got, but under new management life has not been such plain sailing.

Morrison began City's opener at Crystal Palace and endured a torrid afternoon, but since then first team chances have been minimal.

The refreshing form of Robbie Neilson at right back hasn't helped his cause, but with Portuguese defensive midfielder-cum-centre half Moreno clearly struggling in the position the time may be near for Morrison to get his chance again.

But it could be another Portuguese import who frustrates the young defender, with Benfica loanee Miguel Vitor on the brink of contention after almost recovering from injury.

Elsewhere the biggest omission from first team proceedings so far is midfielder Andy King, benched for City's previous two matches against Leeds and Reading respectively.

King may have his quiet games, invisible ones even, but there should be few doubts of his importance to the side.

With 11 goals last season it is simple to understand what he brings to the table, a factor which should make Sousa's decision simple.

Joy in a more advanced midfield position should find its way to the Welsh starlet, who may have even benefited from his short spell out. Substitute appearances in both matches indicate just that.

Competition is rife in a fully-fit City squad, and with clear quality in the ranks, healthy too. Sousa has a competent collection under his wing, and a little more faith in the team that performed so well last season would not go amiss.

The capture of Martyn Waghorn could be the final piece of the jigsaw, and with a trio of forthcoming matches in which the striker found the net in last term, what is there not to be optimistic about?

You can read Vital Leicester's standpoint on Paul Gallagher in a special feature article tomorrow.

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Writer:JBFox
Date:Monday September 6 2010
Time: 7:20PM

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