Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughLeicester Look Foxy As Sven Aims For Promotion - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Leicester Look Foxy As Sven Aims For Promotion - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Leicester Look Foxy As Sven Aims For Promotion

AS THE 24 clubs competing in the 2011/2012 Npower Championship preparations are now in full flow, Leicester City have emerged among several bookmakers as not only favourites for promotion but also favourites for the title.

Under the guidance of former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson, the Foxes have really broke the bank this summer, buying in a host of big names as they look to reach the promised land of the Premiership for the first time since 2004.

Having such a popular manager who instantly commands respect is a key asset at any level of football. In Sven the Foxes have just the man, last season we saw his credentials as he persuaded players such as Darius Vassell, Diomansy Kamara and Yakubu to drop from the Premiership to play in the Championship. Not many other Championship managers would be able to persuade these three or any other seasoned Premiership players to play down a level.

After finishing a respectable 10th last season, Sven saw room for improvement and has been busy adding to his already talented squad this summer.

Kasper Schmeichel, son of legendary goalkeeper Peter, was recruited from Leeds for around £1m to fill the sticks this season.  The Foxes also splashed the cash to buy centre-half Matt Mills from fellow Championship club Reading for £5m, as well as snapping up highly rated full-back Lee Peltier from League 1 Huddersfield Town. They also won the race to sign Republic of Ireland international Sean St Ledger from Preston North End, the big defender was sought after by a host of Championship clubs, particularly Ipswich Town.

Box-to-box midfielder Neil Danns, full-back John Pantsil and striker David Nugent will also ply their trade at the Walkers Stadium next season after all choosing the Foxes over a range of both Premiership and Championship sides. The trio all decided to leave their respective clubs in June as their contracts came to an end. Two-capped England full-back Paul Konchesky has also joined from Liverpool, where he endured a nightmare debut season, spending the last three months of the season at Nottingham Forrest. There have also been reports that Leicester are debating whether to offer contracts to ex-Premier League players and free agents Owen Hargreaves and Michael Ball.

With all these astute signings in place, Foxes fans’ should certainly be in for an enjoyable season. After all, Leicester already possess some exciting talents going forward – Paul Gallagher, Lloyd Dyer, Andy King and Vassell can certainly all score goals and form a quad of attacking class. Big centre-half Sol Bamba stood out in the Foxes defence last year, which was a little leaky to say the least.

It was clear to see that the defence was the key issue for Sven this summer, despite scoring an impressive 76 goals last season, the Foxes also conceded 71 goals, the joint highest in the league excluding the bottom four clubs – Doncaster, Preston, Sheffield United and Scunthorpe.

Sven has gone about solving this issue well and has clearly added genuine class to the back-line. He now has a top-class goalkeeper in Schmeichel, two proven championship centre-halfs in Mills and St Ledger, and two full-backs with vast Premier League experience in Pantsil and Konchesky.

However, will all these players gel together and play well? That is the question that is so craved. Yes, you can sign all these big-name individuals who have international and Premier League experience but will they play well together? That is what is most important.

After signing eight players so far this summer, Sven publically declared that he expects more signings. Yes, large numbers in the squad does add competition for places and guards players from complacency but too much competition for places will also leave a lot of players on the bench and unhappy. This could cause a detrimental effect. Sven must make sure he rotates the squad accordingly and try and keep everyone’s morale up, after all a happy squad is a successful squad.

Given the reputations of the players that Leicester have just signed, they must be on top wages, The Foxes must be sure that if they are to fail to get promotion this season they have the financial backing to deal with the large contracts their squad is on. The man largely responsible for these signings is 25-year-old Thai businessman Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn whose family owns the King Power duty free company in Thailand. Foxes fans’ must trust his investment and ambition, i.e. he won’t get bored and leave as if this happens then who knows what could happen to the club financially.

Despite their strong squad, do Leicester still have enough to get promoted? After all, the Npower Championship is as strong as ever. Recently relegated sides West Ham and Birmingham will most definitely be challenging for the title having almost strengthened their squads after relegation despite some obvious key player departures. Other sides such as Blackpool, Reading, Nottingham Forrest, Leeds, Cardiff and Burnley will also be there or thereabouts this season and will rival Leicester for promotion.

I think the Foxes have a great chance of promotion; they have a good squad and a very good manager. Having said that, I think they will just miss out on automatic promotion and have to settle for a place in the play-offs which we all know is a lottery for any club.

Will Ridgard

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