Bristol City have endured a thoroughly disappointing campaign to date, while Leicester’s first season back in the Championship is shaping up to be more like how their last one in this division was intended to be.
The difference is that this time it can’t end in disaster. With promotion back to the Premier League the target the Foxes endured a terrible campaign in 2007/08, eventually slipping through the trap door to League One, despite being amongst the league’s highest spenders and getting through a number of managers along the way.
Milan Mandaric, the chairman, appears to have learnt from his mistakes and the club has been run in the opposite way this time around, with current manager Nigel Pearson close to completing two seasons at the helm and reckless spending no longer on the agenda at the Walkers. Currently well-placed in the play-off picture, Leicester’s principal aim for this season must surely have been just to survive.
Contrastingly, Bristol City fans can be forgiven for feeling frustrated at their own club’s failure to be amongst the promotion hopefuls so far this season. Their first season at this level, in 2007-08, had the feel of a fairytale to it; finishing third in the table before going all the way to the play-off final.
Maybe it was the Wembley defeat that followed which paved the way for the club’s subsequent decline in the league; last season the Robins once again harboured realistic hopes of a top-six finish, only for the season to peter out prematurely thanks largely to a lot of draws in their final games, and the current campaign looks like being the worst yet at this level for City. Sat in a precarious position, just five points off the drop zone, Gary Johnson’s side will be looking nervously over their shoulders just now. They are five league games without a win and have netted just once in this unfavourable sequence.
A win for the hosts could well kick-start a late-season surge, but confidence is high in the visitors’ camp at the moment and, with sides around them guaranteed to drop points in the other midweek games, Leicester have every motivation to go and win this game. I forecast an entertaining encounter which will bring an end to Bristol City’s scoring hoodoo, but ultimately not to the end of their current slump. 2-3.
Paddy Power is giving Soccerlens readers a free £20 bet to predict who will get promoted from the Championship this season. Who’s your pick?