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August 24, 2012 / ultrafox1963

New characters, same plot

Yann Kermorgant has the last laugh on City critics

This season was supposed to be so different – the dawn of a new triumphant phase for Leicester City.

But the first away league trip of the 2012-13 campaign ultimately yielded yet more defeat and despair for the long-suffering Foxes fanbase.

Once again, appalling away form threatens to wreck another bid for a Premier League place.

And it was particularly worrying that all the flaws that have beset City on their travels in recent times were once again in evidence.

In a league as physically competitive as the Championship, one of the most demanding tests of endurance in world football, squad rotation cannot be regarded as an optional extra. It is an absolute must.

Several young players, introduced to the squad by manager Nigel Pearson, had performed well in the wins against Torquay and Peterborough. But a trip to newly-promoted Charlton presented an altogether different and tougher challenge, which some proved unable to meet.

City improved in the second half, once David Nugent and Andy King had been brought off the bench, and ultimately were only denied a point by wasteful finishing late in the game.

However, the damage had already been done by a dismal first half in which City’s defence was too frequently troubled by opposition strikers (including former Fox Yann Kermorgant), whose previous record at this level had been mediocre.

Although Pearson has insisted the squad has sufficient depth to cover the absence of Sean St Ledger and new signing Zak Whitbread through injury, many fans are not entirely convinced.

But with only one side, Blackpool, managing to secure maximum points from their opening two fixtures, the ground lost as a result of this setback has thankfully been limited.

City will hope to bounce back with a win at troubled Blackburn Rovers.

The Lancashire side were relegated from the top flight last season in the midst of open warfare between sections of its fanbase and club owners Venky’s.  This turmoil, still very much ongoing, contributed to a record of twelve defeats in nineteen home matches.

Although their last game, a 1-0 victory over Hull, saw them climb to 4th place in the Championship, the attendance for that fixture – below 14000 – was the lowest at Ewood Park for a league game in nearly two decades.

City will be looking to add to the discontent, with Nugent (a former Preston and Burnley player) and ex-Rovers Neil Danns and Paul Gallagher all particularly keen to feature.

Danns, left on the sidelines for City’s first two league games, has used his Twitter page to make his frustrations known.

But his energy and experience could prove invaluable in the midfield battle with the home side’s ex-Fulham duo of Danny Murphy and Dickson Etuhu.

Pearson may also contemplate fielding three central midfielders in order to include both Danns and King.

He will recognise the need for City to take at least a point back to the East Midlands.

Even at this early stage, the tensions caused by a second successive away defeat would unsettle the dressing room and fanbase alike.

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