When these sides last met at St Andrews a draw was enough to put Leicester top of the Championship on goal difference. Since then, it’s actually Birmingham City who have won more points than the Foxes, 41 compared with 38. That’s as much a telling indication as any of just how badly Leicester’s promotion campaign has faltered.
And yet, whilst the faintest glimmer of hope remains Leicester must press on.
City have five games remaining, and at the very least must win three of them to stand any chance of ending the season in the top six.
It really is hope that is keeping Leicester fans going at the moment, the sides’ form offers no consolation at all. Eight games without a win. One win in their last dozen outings. Four goals in their last eight games. This is Leicester’s worst run of form since Rob Kelly was in charge.
The pillars of Leicester’s promotion campaign have broken down. First the defence, which whilst still statistically the strongest in the division, hasn’t kept a clean sheet in eight games. And the club’s attacking threats aren’t helping either. No goals from Chris Wood or Andy King in their last eight appearances. No goals for Ben Marshall in nine. No goals for Anthony Knockaert in 10. No goals for David Nugent in 11 games.
In fact, Nugent has collected more yellow cards (4) than goals (3) since Christmas. A sign perhaps of the growing frustration for a player who in January looked destined to hit the 20-goal mark.
Birmingham meanwhile can’t quite be assured of a place in this division next season just yet. That 53 points might not be enough shows just how closely the Championship is fought. And the Blues have been fighting for their place hard. Four away wins in their last six trips on the road, including a 4-0 thumping of Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, mean Lee Clark’s side deserve respect.
Leicester’s defence will need to be back on top form to keep out a Birmingham side whose away goal tally (30) is bettered only by Watford and Cardiff this season.
And Birmingham will dig in, they’ve lost just once this season when the scores have been level at half-time.
The question is, which Leicester City will they be fighting against?