December could define Leicester’s season

After suffering two consecutive losses for the first time this season, Leicester City will aim to pick up where they left off at the King Power Stadium with a first-versus-third clash with top-of-the-table Burnley this Saturday.  Just days later, the Foxes will host Premier League giants Manchester City in a League Cup quarter-final tie, before travelling to Loftus Road to take on fellow promotion rivals Queens Park Rangers.

The Foxes face two more top-six sides after Christmas – Reading the visitors on Boxing Day, before East-Midlands-rivals Derby County make the short trip down the M1 in early January.  The games come thick and fast in this league, and it goes to show how impressive Leicester’s start to their 2013/14 Championship campaign has been that the game against Manchester City is arguably the least important this month.

Leicester’s form home and away has been very good – Nigel Pearson’s men are averaging two points a game in the Championship – which suggests that back-to-back defeats at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton last week were more a blip than anything else.  But with five games still to play in December, the Foxes must return to winning ways in order to keep pace with Sean Dyche’s Burnley and promotion-favourites QPR.  The next three weeks will be a real test for Leicester, but with four of the five games remaining this calendar year being played at the King Power Stadium – where the Foxes have won nine out of eleven in all competitions – Nigel Pearson will see this as a fantastic opportunity for his side to pick up points.

Leicester have been in this position before – as recently as last year, and, as Foxes fans will recall having watched their side slipped from top spot in the Championship and outside the play-off places during a torrid run of form, actually needed help on the last day of the season in order to reach the play-offs.  Nigel Pearson will not want to see his side squander an opportunity like that again, and, with a similar squad to last year, his players should have the mental strength to push on at this stage of the season.

This December could really define Leicester’s season – not only will it mark the half-way point of this campaign, but the Foxes will have played some tough opponents who are where they are in the league on merit.  There is some breathing room between third and sixth in the Championship right now, but Leicester should still be looking up and aiming for one of the two automatic promotion spots.  Building on their impressive home form would go some way to achieving this.