From now until the end of the season the equation for Leicester fans is pretty simple. There are 27 Championship points to play for, and the Foxes will probably need 21 of them to make the top six. So, whilst technically we’re not in must win territory, in reality Leicester’s promotion hopes rely heavily on maximising their return from five remaining home matches and scraping whatever they can together on the road. First up, Portsmouth.
Pompey must be the Championship’s streakiest side. Their season began without a win in its opening seven matches, followed immediately by seven without defeat. Steve Cotterill’s side failed to taste victory in four matches after that, but recovered with two successive wins. Then, at the end of a miserable run of no win in nine, Pompey managed a season best six wins on the bounce. Now Portsmouth arrive at the Walkers Stadium without a win in their last two matches. Is this the start of another downturn?
Leicester, looking to bag consecutive wins after their own wobble, will certainly hope so. Sven’s men recorded their first clean sheet in a month with victory over Scunthorpe last week, and need to regain the momentum that propelled them into playoff contention during January and February to have any hope of gaining promotion this year. Fortunately for the Foxes, every other side in the division has remained consistently inconsistent. No Championship team is presently on a run of more than two successive victories.
This match means a little more than three points for Leicester, who will be seeking to avenge the 6-1 televised drubbing which precipitated the sacking of Paulo Sousa and the appointment of Sven. And whilst only three survivors from that defeat (Vitor, King and Abe) started at Glanford Park last week, Leicester’s biggest league defeat in eight years has not been easy to live down for the fans or the players.
The three points are unlikely to come as cheaply for City as they did for Pompey that night however. Porstmouth, looking for their first win in Leicester since 1994, have kept seven clean sheets in their last eight and won more points against sides in the top half than against those at the bottom. Leicester’s 13 match unbeaten home league run ended in the limp defeat to Norwich, but Foxes fans should note that Sven’s men have won six, drawn three and lost none against sides in the bottom half of the table. The same sort of ruthlessness will be required on Saturday if the promotion bandwagon is to keep rolling.