Leicester fans have had plenty to smile about this month. City ended October in their highest league position since relegation from the Premier League in 2002/03, flirted with an international superstar and in the style of all good sides, won games which perhaps they ought not to.
The month began with Nigel Pearson naming his first unchanged side of the season for the trip to Coventry. He subsequently changed his first eleven for every proceeding fixture. Perhaps poetically, Pearson’s unchanged Foxes’ headed back down the M69 with an unchanged result, their fourth draw in five visits to the Sky Blues. But that wasn’t to say there were no surprises. DJ Campbell made his first Leicester appearance since 25th November 2008, a gap of 315 days. He still awaits his first Leicester goal since 16th February 2008.
The home match with Derby brought City another chance to overturn a poor run of recent results against a local rival, but City were unable to break down the Rams who came for and got their point from the Walkers. The last City side to beat Derby lined up as; Walker, Makin, Dabizas, Keown, Wilcox, Scowcroft, Nalis, Williams, Stewart, Connolly, Blake.
Two draws was hardly an ideal start to the month but City soon got the back to winning ways at home to Crystal Palace. It took Paul Gallagher 547 minutes to bag his first Leicester City goal, but the home faithful only had to wait another 22 minutes from his spectacular second. Gallagher’s brace (the fourth of his career) didn’t pave the way for a first career hat-trick but it was enough to put City right in the mix as the Championship’s top nine sides found themselves separated by just three points.
The dismissal of Gareth Southgate from Middlesborough had to bookies pricing Nigel Pearson between 10/1 and 14/1 to be his replacement. Thankfully for City fans any concern was short-lived as Steve Gibson made his preference from Gordon Strachan abundantly clear.
City’s best moments of October came live on Sky Sports, first with a fortunate victory over Reading and followed by a well deserved win at Loftus Road. At Reading, City kept their third consecutive clean sheet, a feat they hadn’t managed since January 2008. Martyn Waghorn celebrated his first ever Leicester City start with a first-half winner, but strike partner Fryatt extended his longest spell without a goal under Nigel Pearson to six games. Thankfully City’s top scorer put this right at QPR with his ninth brace in a Leicester shirt.
Once again, it is City’s defence who deserve praise for Leicester’s excellent form. The Foxes kept three clean sheets in five games and conceded just two goals all month. They also restricted free-scoring QPR to the fewest attempts on goal they have managed in a home game all season.
But it’s also strength and mental toughness that has put City in such an excellent position. Twice the Foxes conceded the first goal this month but took four points from those games. It’s also over a year since Nigel Pearson’s side took the lead in a league game and lost.
Pearson has created a side that will not accept defeat – in the Championship that’s the battle half won.