Today represents the final opportunity for some in Nigel Pearson’s starting eleven to prove they are worthy of their place before another month of chequebook flashing. That the match comes against Portsmouth, a club who barely have two ten pence pieces to rub together, is probably about as fitting an end to 2011 as Leicester could get. Despite their financial predicament, Pompey find themselves only four points behind the Foxes with a game in hand.
City are without a win in four, their longest stretch without a win this season. They’re also unbeaten in four at the King Power Stadium. Depressingly, this equals the side’s longest run without defeat at home in the campaign.
Just as they did here last season, Pompey are likely to frustrate. Michael Appleton has set about changing Portsmouth’s fortunes on the road, getting their first win away from home this season at Burnley before losing narrowly at Millwall.
Portsmouth have scored just seven league goals away from home so far, and have failed to find the net in seven of their 11 away matches. Couple this with a propensity to commit more fouls per minute than any other Champioship side and mix with Leicester’s uninspiring recent displays, and you have all the ingredients of a scrappy game, perhaps settled by a single goal.
That winner could well come late. Over a third of Portsmouth’s league goals have arrived in the final 15 minutes. A smash and grab away win would just about sum up Leicester’s frustrating year. But perhaps City can summon whatever inspired them to perform as they did the last time the Sky TV cameras graced the King Power Stadium with their presence, a 4-0 win over Derby. The new year would look a little sunnier at least.