As FA Cup Third Round draws go this was, by recent standards at least, a good one for Leicester. If you can’t meet lower division fodder at home or a Premier League side, a local derby is about as much as fans can ask for. Like last year, the FA Cup Third Round weekend means something to Leicester this season. It could so easily have been another Championship side (Swansea, 2009; Southampton, 2007) or far from glamourous opposition from a higher division (Crystal Palace, 2008).
Instead, it is an East Midlands derby, the 100th meeting between Leicester City and Nottingham Forest, but the first in the FA Cup since 1901 when the Reds ran out 5-1 victors.
Whenever this fixture rolls around in the league much is made of the fact that Leicester haven’t won a league game at the City Ground since 1972. But the Foxes have triumphed twice here more recently. A 3-2 victory in the Carling Cup in 2007 was Leicester’s most recent success, but they also beat Portsmouth in a 1993 playoff semi-final when the building of the Carling Stand at Filbert Street forced the Foxes to play their ‘home’ leg a stones throw from the River Trent.
For both clubs, the history books make much better reading than their current predicaments. Forest got their first win in eight last week at Ipswich, but have lost their last four at home and have scored on 11 league goals at the City Ground this season.
Leicester meanwhile picked up only their third away win of the campaign at Selhurst Park last time out, but have yet to show the significant improvements required if a push for the playoffs is to morph from fantasy into reality.
Steve Coterill’s record against the Foxes is impressive (P8 W5 D2 L1 F10 A2), but if forced to predict a score, a 1-0 success for the Foxes would be about as reliable as these forecasts go. Forest have lost seven Championship matches by this scoreline already this season, more than 23 Championship clubs managed in the entirety of last season. Such a result would send 8,000 travelling supporters home happy – at least until the Foxes are drawn away at Reading in the next round.