Five Key Away Games

Leicester City struggled on the road in 2012/3, winning just six games out of a possible 23 in the Championship last season.  The Foxes will need to improve on their travels to be considered an automatic promotion threat this time around: for the last four years, the division’s top-two teams have all registered double-digit wins away from home.  Here are five key away games in Leicester City’s 2013/4 Championship campaign:

1: vs. Middlesbrough – Saturday 3 August 2013 (3pm)

Leicester’s record against Middlesbrough in recent years is very respectable.  In fact, the Boro’s last league win in this fixture was over eleven years ago when both clubs were in the Premier League.  The Foxes have won two of their last four matches at the Riverside, and remain undefeated since Tony Mowbray became manager in 2010.  That being said, it is Leicester’s first game of the new Championship campaign, and both sides will be determined to get off to a fast start.  Nigel Pearson, a former Middlesbrough captain, may have been hoping for a shorter road journey to kick things off in August.  Then again, he will certainly have his current side’s recent record in mind.

2: vs. Charlton Athletic – Saturday 31 August 2013 (3pm)

Many neutrals saw Charlton’s very respectable ninth-placed standing last season as somewhat of a misnomer.  However, the Addicks have won 47 of their last 94 league fixtures with manager Chris Powell at the helm over the last two years.  If the season were a couple of games longer, Charlton may have snuck into the playoffs last year, as they finished just three points below Leicester City.  They also beat the Foxes both home and away last season, and were the better side on both occasions.  Powell will be looking to build on last year’s final standing and push on for a possible top-six spot.  With that being said, Charlton won only eight games at the Valley in 2012/3.  Visiting teams will try to exploit that.

3: vs. Watford – Saturday 2 November 2013 (12:15pm – Sky Sports)

There are no two ways about it: Sky will have a field day in the build-up to this fixture, repeatedly showing Troy Deeney’s play-off stoppage-time winner from last season until Leicester City supporters who had previously spent the summer trying to forget about it are ready to go and lie down in a dark room.  This could be Leicester’s biggest mental challenge during the upcoming Championship campaign.  Nigel Pearson and his men must forget about their last trip to Vicarage Road and focus on the task at hand.  It won’t be easy, as Watford will be definite promotion contenders.  An away win wouldn’t rewrite history, but it’d help some Leicester supporters heal.  Many would probably take a draw if it were offered.

4: vs. Ipswich Town – Saturday 23 November 2013 (3pm)

There’s always something about this fixture.  Ipswich Town are a side who usually seem to have Leicester’s number when they travel to Portman Road, having beaten the Foxes six out of the last ten times there.  Relegation contenders for around 85% of last season, manager Mick McCarthy guided the Tractor Boys to an eventually-respectable fourteenth-placed finish in the Championship last year.  With the former Republic of Ireland manager seemingly now settled in Suffolk, Nigel Pearson’s men will be in for another tough away journey before Christmas.  Leicester supporters will simply be praying that it doesn’t snow.

5: vs. Millwall – Wednesday 1 January 2014 (3pm)

Whether they are flying high or scrapping for survival, there is never a good time to play Millwall away from home.  This is certainly true for Leicester City, who haven’t beaten the Lions at the New Den since the south-London club returned to the Championship in 2010.  In fact, the Foxes have scored just one goal against Millwall in their last four encounters, losing on each occasion.  Nigel Pearson will want to right that wrong and kick off the new year with a positive result, but new manager Steve Lomas will be expecting his new side to finish higher they did in 2013 after slipping from sixth to twentieth during the second half of last season.