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View from the South Stand - Leicester City 04/02/12

After an unbeaten first month of 2012, we face another tough test when Nigel Pearson brings his Leicester City side to The Amex.

The Foxes were pre-season favourites with most bookmakers for the title but dismissed Sven Goran Eriksson early on and currently sit three points adrift of the Albion in the hunt for a play-off spot.

Ivar Tisthammer from The Cunning Fox takes us through the Foxes view of their season so far and Saturday's clash

Sven was obviously bought in with a lot of fanfare as Leicester boss. Why do you think it didn't work out how most people were expecting it to?
He is not a sort of manager/coach to be in a league like the Championship. This is not his environment and his ambitious plan never really worked out 100%. He also changed strategies all the time and used 50 players in the first team in a year. He made no secret about his ambitions, but failed on the demands of the owners, overrated himself and thought it would be easy to tempt players like Michael Owen, David Beckham, Owen Hargreaves and Thierry Henry to sign for Leicester. It was a mismatch, a crock of culture and maybe an "easy fix" and a good idea that didn't really have the realistic ambitions for a club like Leicester. But Sven is a great man, a good manager and one to like, and some of the signings he did this summer look good, but are in many ways too expensive and makes the life of the squad difficult since the gap in salaries are huge between players that are playing regularly and that is also a big mistake by Sven, signing players at inflated fees and giving them "fat" contracts.

The Foxes were pre-season favourites to win the the title. Do you think they can still achieve promotion this season?
We all know that the team of players one by one might be Premier League potential, but most City fans didn't see us up there surfing this season. Media and pundits without knowledge just thought that City had a heavy transfer budget, signed a lot of proven players and thought that this would be the fix to get us up. Stupid and showing lack of knowledge about the game. We hopefully have a chance of reaching the play-off's but I doubt it after the 2-2 draw at home to Middlesbrough. Had City won that game I would have been more optimistic. But we are hopefully building something now under Nigel Pearson that could see us fight for promotion next season.

The saying in football is never go back, as ex-Foxes boss Micky Adams found to his cost when he returned to us. What did Leicester fans make of the return of Nigel Pearson?
NP was doing ok and his approach to management is one that I like. He is doing his job well but lacks probably a bit to become a manager that in a way can take us up, sign the players needed to stay up in the Premier League and be the attraction that also makes certain players join. Everyone thought it was too early to sack Sven, and I myself hoped that Sven would have been given at least until Christmas, but that was never to be. But NP is a good match to Leicester City as we know it at the moment and his judgement and understanding of football see us in safe hands, but maybe he is a bit too safe. Some of his selections look a bit odd, he is not a great tactition and makes very few "changes" that change games, but again it could have been a lot worse.

Your board are ambitious and have stated Premier League as the aim. Do you think Leicester can get there and then survive in the top flight as well?
I am not very impressed with the current owners, and owners of football clubs seems to forget what this is; it's sports and football, and you compete against other teams every week. It's not a marketing thing, and their lack of understanding might be pictured in the campaign selling Leicester in Thailand with a picture of Yuki Abe, now sold and not really a star player at the club, but his looks suited this campaign in Thailand. As long as NP is happy and the financial side of the club is healthy then it is ok. We have experienced times with administration and lack of funds and that is not good at all. 

You won League One and instantly adapted to the step up to the Championship, losing in the play-off semi finals. What do you think it takes to make an instant bid for a second consecutive promotion?
The winning mentality in the team is around when you get a promotion. You also have a number of players that have the ability to play at a higher level when you reach promotion. A number of clubs like Norwich last season, Leicester the season before and Southampton this season show that a mix of keeping your best players, adding new and better players than you had, and a good knowledge of the loan market will be the mix that can get you up. Of course keeping your best players and the manager that takes you up is a must as well. The key is to make few and good changes that bring in the right players that fit in with all criteria and at the same time also comes in on a salary level that is correct for the player and also when you compare with other players in the squad.

Since moving to the King Power Stadium you've only had one season of top flight football. How did the move from Filbert Street affect the club and do you think it played a part in losing Premier League status?
No not at all, it was a must to leave Filbert Street, or get it modernised. It was not possible to do anything more at Filbert Street and the stadium was too small. The new Filbert Way as we would like to call it has great facilities and is a modern and good ground and I believe that the club, despite not being in the Premier League, has done the right thing and getting 20 to 30 thousand on each game is fantastic. 

Leicester have obviously assembled an expensive and talented squad. Who should Brighton fans be looking out for on Saturday?
David Nugent is a good player and one better than the others. Beckford is also reaching a good level and has started to score goals, so I would say that those two are the one you should be looking out for. Record signing Matt Mills and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel are of course also great players.

How much do you know about Gus Poyet's Brighton side?
That he was a good player with Chelsea and Tottenham and has the right background to be a good manager. Done it all as a player, been at the highest level, done his assistant manager time with Leeds and Tottenham and a man that knows what buttons to push to get things right. Impressive so far at Brighton.

This will be the Foxes first visit to The Amex following several experiences of Withdean. What can we expect from the travelling support?
A good crowd of great fans. City fans travelling on away games are the most devoted and passionate, and they will give a good support for their team. A group of London based Foxes fans are always there. There actually are a number of Foxes fans from Brighton calling themselves The South Coast Foxes and they used to run a website but I don't know what happened to them. Good support, friendly people and very devoted fans, singing loud.

Finally, a prediction for the game please?
City managed to win against Southampton and I hope that we will do the same against you and hope for a good result, either a 3-1 or 2-0 win to us.

Many thanks to Ivar for his insight into the forthcoming fixture. If the Albion win why not send him a Tweet at  The Cunning Fox on Twitter reminding him of his bold predictions of a two goal winning margin for Leicester!

 


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