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April 6, 2013 / ultrafox1963

Pearson looks to Amex to extend credit limit

Will the Foxes’ boss be raging at the referee again today?

Despite a dismal recent run of results, Leicester City enter the final month of the Championship regular season with their play-off destiny still within their own hands.

A win in today’s south-coast showdown against rivals Brighton will lift the Foxes back into the top six with just five games remaining.

It would also halt a devastating slump that has seen them gather just six points from the last 33 available, and fail to find the net at all during the last five hours of playing time.

Following a particularly calamitous performance at relegation-threatened Barnsley, in which City were widely considered fortunate to lose by only a two-goal margin, many expected the plug to be pulled on manager Nigel Pearson’s second spell at Filbert Way.

Although the fans that made the trip to Oakwell were more inclined to blame the players than the manager for the poor display, the blocks of empty seats, in an end Foxes have twice filled during recent relegation battles, delivered the most damning message of all.

The faith of the wider fanbase in Pearson has suffered a significant blow, with many on the social networks and Foxes forums openly sceptical on whether he can restore it. However the absence of any consensus on a potential replacement has proved significant in enabling his backers within the club to dissuade the owners from terminating his contract, at least for the time being.

While the form book might point to a comfortable home win at the Amex Stadium today, it has often proved unreliable in a division that has regularly thrown up shock results throughout the campaign – including the defeat of leaders Cardiff last weekend by lowly Peterborough for the second time this season.

Another factor contributing hugely to the league’s unpredictability is the behaviour of the match officials. Pearson will have cause to remember City’s only previous visit to this venue in February 2012, where Jermaine Beckford and Neil Danns were both red-carded during an ill-tempered, poorly-overseen 1-0 defeat.

It is highly likely that Brighton will again adopt the physical, and occasionally brutal, approach that was on show for much of that afternoon. City will therefore have to display far greater reserves of discipline and mental strength than they have mustered against similar opponents in recent weeks.

The performance of skipper Wes Morgan upon his return from suspension may well prove crucial, along with that of referee Jon Moss, who remains unforgiven by many City fans for his misjudgements in last season’s league clash at Nottingham Forest.

An abysmal away record, which has seen City win just 5 games from 20 on their league travels to date, needs rapid improvement if Pearson is to rescue the season. When selecting today’s side. he must choose whether to stick with the squad of serial failures, or have the courage to blood youngsters from the successful Under-21 side.

This game will be a defining moment in both City’s season and their manager’s time in charge. Returning north without reward for their efforts could prove terminal for both.

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