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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Hull City vs. Leicester City

KC Stadium

01/01/11

3 p.m

Preview: Hull vs Leicester

Nigel Pearson comes face-to-face with his former club for the second time this campaign when Leicester make the trip to the KC Stadium on New Year's Day.

Pearson was forced out at the Walkers Stadium in the build-up to the Foxes' takeover by their current Thai owners, and eventually made the switch to Hull at the end of June.

Life in Yorkshire has been somewhat of a struggle for Pearson and his Hull side this season, however, as they sit just one point above City in the Championship table despite their recent relegation from the Premier League.

A terrible opening to the season saw the Tigers drop as low as the relegation places, but an excellent run of form has seen them fight their way back to 15th.

The Yorkshire outfit are unbeaten in their last eight league matches, and based on those fixtures, currently lie second in the division form table.

The Tigers pose yet more stats which Leicester chief Sven-Goran Eriksson will not want to hear, as his Foxes side look to avoid an unwanted fifth straight defeat on the road.

Tuesday's dismal 2-0 defeat at Millwall proved a frustrating experience once again away from the Walkers Stadium, and Eriksson knows his side must improve on their travels if they are to stake a claim for success this season.

The last meeting between the two sides at the KC Stadium saw Hull run out convincing 2-0 winners through goals from Caleb Folan and Fraizer Campbell back in 2007.

The two sides have already met in the league this season, Robert Koren's second-half strike cancelling out Andy King's early opener to see each side grab a point at the Walkers Stadium.

Vital Quotes:

Hull manager Nigel Pearson: "It's good to hear that the players are talking positively but of course we have to keep the reins on that as well.

"I've said it many times but the start we've had puts us in a situation where there's no margin for error. It's going to remain a very interesting league but there's more of an air of optimism."

Leicester manager Sven-Goran Eriksson: "We know we have to change as the away results have not been good. We are a very quiet football team and we need more talking and more organising to help avoid danger or error.

"It will be difficult, competitive and very important for us against Hull City. We cannot go on losing away games and hopefully Saturday will be the change that we need."

Hull City Team News:

Hull may welcome two new signings into the first team.

Striker Aaron Mclean will be eligible to play after making his 1.3m switch from Peterborough, while Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan was drafted in on loan today to replace the injured Vito Mannone.

Elsewhere the Tigers are hoping centre back Anthony Gerrard will be fit in time for the clash following an Achilles problem.

Player to watch: Jamie Devitt

Vital Leicester has picked up the unwanted knack of choosing an eventual goal-scorer as the one to watch for the past three weeks, so here's for something a little different.

Young wide-man Devitt has only recently made his mark on Nigel Pearson's first team, but with three starts in a row under his belt, confidence is high.

The 20-year-old Irishman should come as something of an unknown quantity to the Foxes at the KC, and the youngster looks a prospect not to be underestimated.

Leicester City Team News:

Centre-backs Miguel Vitor and Curtis Davies both look set to miss out through injury again, meaning Jack Hobbs and Michael Morrison look likely to continue together at the heart of defence.

Elsewhere goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has returned to Wigan with another injury, with Chris Weale set to reclaim his first team place.

Player to watch: Richie Wellens

At times of need, Wellens is the one Leicester player who can pull the strings in midfield when the going gets tough.

Combative, tireless and possessing quality to match, Wellens has the potential to unlock the Hull defence at will to help end Leicester's woeful away run.

Match Facts & Stats

- Did we mention Leicester could do without losing this? Five away defeats on the trot is a grim prospect.

- Hull have scored a paltry 23 goals this season, worsened only by Sheffield United.

- Leicester have conceded the first goal in a match 14 times this season, the worst total in the division alongside, yes, Sheffield United.

- And the Foxes have the Championship's joint-worst defensive record, shipping a colossal 42 goals so far this campaign.

Ref Watch:

D Webb

Matches: 4
Yellows: 15
Reds: 0

Match Prediction:

Closing your eyes watching this is probably advisable, it's not going to pretty. Can I say we're going to lose? We might win then. Hull 2-0 Leicester.

Next Fixtures:

Monday 1st January:

Hull (A)




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The Journalist

Writer: JBFox Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday December 31 2010

Time: 5:09PM

 

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