Sports Mole peers ahead at the prospects for Leicester City in this season's Championship.
The Championship season gets underway this weekend and here Sports Mole assesses the chances of Leicester City in 2013-14.
Zoumana Bakayogo (From Tranmere Rovers, Free)
Joey Jones (To Yeovil Town, Free), Conor Brennan (Released), Jide Maduako (Released), Steven Smith (Released), Karlton Watson (Released), Richie Wellens (Released), Jermaine Beckford (To Bolton Wanderers, Undisclosed)
Last Season: 6th
Manager: Nigel Pearson
Three key players:
© PA Photos
Kasper Schmeichel -
The son of Manchester United legend Peter, Schmeichel is making a name for himself in the Championship and should Leicester not be promoted this term, then he could be on his way to a Premier League outfit in the near future. Reports this summer have linked the Dane to Hull City, but he recently distanced himself
from a move away. Leicester conceded the joint-least
goals away from home last season and that was, in part, down to the shot-stopping of Schmeichel, who at 26 should be entering the peak of his career.
© PA Photos
Anthony Knockaert -
A flair player, Frenchman Knockaert appeared in all but two of Leicester's league games last season after making a summer switch from Guingamp a year ago. At just 21 he adapted to life impressively in England, making into Sports Mole
's very own top 10 players
from the division even though he missed a penalty and the rebound in the dying moments of their playoff semi-final against Watford that would have sent them through to a Wembley final. His input from the wings also does more than enough to make up for his regular faux pas of wearing gloves with short sleeves.
© PA Photos
Chris Wood -
The Kiwi forward moved to the East Midlands in January and it proved to be money well-spent as he netted twice in just 24 minutes on his debut before also scoring a first-half hat-trick against Bristol City in the next game. The powerful 21-year-old added just four more goals in the remaining 20 games and Pearson will be hoping for consistency this season. Wood's partnership with sharpshooter David Nugent
is arguably the meanest frontline in the division and if they're on song this year, expect the goals to flow.
First game: Middlesbrough (A), Complete fixture list
Sports Mole says: Often tipped to do well, Leicester have finished in the top 10 in each of the last four seasons since their promotion from League One. Last season they were beaten in the 97th minute by Watford in the playoff semi-finals and a run at the top six is again expected this year. Pearson has barely added to his squad but he has not lost much either and as long as it stays that way come the end of August, the Foxes have a fantastic chance of returning to the Premier League after a decade below the top flight.
Predicted finish: 3rd