The Local Lowdown: Leicester City


We asked Leicester City expert Rob Tanner, Football writer for The Athletic, to preview Southampton's trip to the Sky Bet Championship leaders from the hosts' point of view...

It was a big win for Leicester over West Brom on Saturday. Did that one feel particularly significant after the surprising back-to-back defeats at Millwall and Plymouth?

It did feel significant and you could tell by the celebrations at the end as it inches them closer to promotion, which had seemed inevitable at one stage of the season until their recent form.

In those games Leicester were punished for wasteful finishing, but it was the opposite against West Brom, who created so many great chances to score but didn’t take them, or were denied by some wonderful defending by Hamza Choudhury in particular.

The Foxes are very close to getting over the line now. How many points do you think are needed from these last three games to guarantee promotion?

Now Leicester know they just need to win two of their last three games to go up, although easier said than done. It has been difficult to get on a run of wins recently.

Back-to-back defeats to Millwall and Plymouth ramped up the pressure on Leicester's promotion bid

Leicester were 17 points clear of the play-off places at one stage, and seemingly on course for a record-breaking Championship season. Why do you think it’s become such a struggle in recent weeks?

A combination of factors. I think early on their approach was so unique to the Championship that teams didn’t know how to deal with it. Lately I think sides now know what to expect from Leicester.

Confidence was high also and some players were flying, but now it has been a struggle for the likes of Patson Daka and a few others.

Also, the off-field problems with profit and sustainability and the EFL’s registration embargo may also have been a factor as that increased the pressure on the players to get promotion.

How much pressure is on this Leicester side to achieve promotion, given the financial implications at stake?

It is vitally important. If they don’t go up there will be a huge scramble to cut costs to try to meet EFL profit and sustainability regulations and if they fail to do so there will be a sizable sanction from the EFL.

Twice now the EFL have lost in legal action that they have operated outside their own rules to attempt to punish Leicester this season, so they seem pretty determined.

If Leicester go up they will still face a points deduction in the Premier League at the start of next season, but at least they will have more financial security.

Leicester's 17-goal top scorer Jamie Vardy with manager Enzo Maresca

What sort of atmosphere should Saints expect at the King Power Stadium?

If Leeds lose at Middlesbrough then Leicester will know a win will secure promotion. It is likely to be a nervy night though, as it was against West Brom, with the club so close and with so much at stake for the club’s future.

How do you see the game going on Tuesday night, and who are likely to be the most influential players?

It will be fascinating to see as Saints are the only team that has had more possession and made more passes than Leicester this season. They are a possession-based side so it will be interesting to see if they try to dominate the game or play on the counter attack, which has been effective against Leicester recently.

For Leicester, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall has been a key figure all season in midfield and, if he starts, Jamie Vardy is always an influential player who gets the crowd going.

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