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Preview: Leicester vs Middlesbrough

Leicester City
vs.
Middlesbrough

Walkers Stadium

14/08/10

3 p.m.

Leicester and Middlesbrough both go in search of their first points of the season on Saturday afternoon when the two sides meet at the Walkers Stadium.

Paulo Sousa's Foxes went down at Crystal Palace last weekend despite a spirited second half comeback, while Middlesbrough were dealt with comfortably at Ipswich.

It has been an eventful week for Leicester this week, who yesterday were officially under new ownership thanks to a takeover from a Thai-lead consortium.

New owner - the 25-year-old Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn known as Top - will be present at the match along with father Vichai.

On the pitch both sides recorded safe passages through to the second round of the Carling Cup, City edging past Macclesfield in an entertaining 4-3 win at the Walkers.

Meanwhile visitors Middlesbrough made light work of Chesterfield with a 2-1 victory, goals from Scott McDonald and Julio Arca providing Strachan's side with victory.

Middlesbrough head into this campaign as the bookmakers favourites for the division title following the arrival of several high-profile signings north of the border this summer.

All-time Scottish Premier League top goal-scorer Kris Boyd has joined 'Boro on a free transfer from Rangers along with midfielder Kevin Thompson, Stephen McManus has a £1.5 million switch from Celtic.

Expectations at Riverside are high following a fruitless campaign last year, but with Strachan now possessing his own side, many believe now is the time to push on for a place in the Premier League.

For Leicester the match represents a particularly tough fixture in light of recent defensive frailties, but with a strong side under his control manager Paulo Sousa knows he has a team capable of taking all the points.

The Foxes indeed came out winners on both meetings between the two sides last season, Lloyd Dyer's solitary strike claiming a narrow win at the Riverside before Yann Kermorgant and Richie Wellens combined

Vital Quotes:

Leicester manager Paulo Sousa: 'I am not surprised there have been so many goals. It is something we expected. Of course, we want to be better defensively and keep going offensively.

'This is something I called for from the beginning, that I want to see my team score a lot of goals.'

Middlesbrough manager Gordon Strachan: 'We hope that playing well during the week will help us recover from the first game of the season to go on and do better.

'We were bitterly disappointed with Saturday but there is a long way to go in the Championship yet. I hope to somehow keep up the good work that the boys started on Tuesday night.

'And I hope the boys come back in a good frame of mind. You can send boys away for an international and they don't do well and get a 3-0 defeat and you have to pick them up again, so we'll see how they are.'

Leicester City Team News:

Leicester will once again be without the services of centre back Miguel Vitor, who lasted only 12 minutes of a reserve team fixture this week with a recurrence of his previous thigh injury.

Elsewhere new signing Michael Lamey could make his debut for the club at right back, while Steve Howard is pushing hard for a first team start after a fine performance midweek.

Player to watch: Moreno

The defensive midfielder-cum-centre back made his first start for the Foxes midweek against Macclesfield at the heart of defence and looked a class apart.

With City currently struggling for consistency at the back the recent Portuguese signing may keep his place in the team alongside Jack Hobbs.

Middlesbrough Team News:

Midfielder Gary O'Neil is still a week away from a return to action with a knee injury.

Tony McMahon will also site out the clash with thigh problem, but midfielder Barry Robson should make it despite returning from international duty with a tight quad muscle.

Player to watch: Scott McDonald

In a squad where a number of players could be selected for his accolade, McDonald will undoubtedly possess one of the biggest problems for the Foxes backline tomorrow.

The former-Celtic man scored goals for fun in the Scottish Premier for three seasons, and already has two for the campaign so far for 'Boro.

The diminutive forward possesses pace to burn and a more often than not a finish to back it up, so whoever starts at the back for City tomorrow will need their head in the game.

Match Facts & Stats

Last meeting:

Leicester 2-0 Middlesbrough
Kermorgant 41, Wellens 86 (p)

- The two sides have already witnessed 19 goals in their matches played this season so far.

- Leicester are unbeaten against Middlesbrough in their previous four meetings.

Ref Watch:

M Jones

Match Prediction:

Hmmm. Pffft. 5-4?

Next Fixtures:

Saturday 21st August

Leicester: Burnley (A)

Sunday 22nd August:

Middlesbrough: Sheffield United (H)


Writer:JBFox
Date:Friday August 13 2010
Time: 1:58PM

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