Leicester City are scrapping for sixth spot but failure to achieve promotion would be to the club's advantage.
“In some ways it is two points dropped.”
This is becoming something of a mantra for Nigel Pearson and so it was we heard the words again after a 0-0 draw against a stubborn, defensive Forest. Victory in what was a game in hand, would have taken us within in a win of sixth place. That said, amazingly, despite having only won two League games back to back all season City are still just four points off the play-off places and six points off fourth.
At face value we’re beginning to put a run together at just the right time but we’re still frustratingly inconsistent.
A win against Forest would have been our fifth in a row at home, but we struggled to convert the chances we created. Yet, we put three past Blackpool away from the King Power Stadium just six days earlier. That game at Broomfield Road was a microcosm of Leicester’s season. Falling behind, going 2-1 ahead, then shipping a goal in the last minute to, you guessed it, drop another two points.
I reckon Pearson is the right man for the manager’s job. He’s demonstrated his ability in his first stint at the club as well as elsewhere and he’s got unfinished business at City. The memories of our play-off semi-final penalty defeat to Cardiff in 2010 live long in the memory.
But he needs time – the one ingredient which seems so rare in modern football. Already City some City fans forums are asking: “Has Pearson failed?” Er, give the guy a bloody chance. He’s effectively still working with someone else’s players – and they were mainly brought together in the close season.
What’s more many of the teams still involved in the race for the play-off places still have to play each other. City don’t, all but our last two games are against teams below us, then we face West Ham at home and what could be crucial – Leeds United away in our final game.
“Has Pearson failed?” Er, give the guy a bloody chance. He’s effectively still working with someone else’s players – and they were mainly brought together in the close season.
As Pearson said after the Forest game: "I think it will go down to the final game to determine the sixth position and we have to make sure we are in contention for that." Perhaps he’s right, maybe we can creep up on the blind side, but only if we can find that much-needed consistency.”
Being honest, if we were to reach the play-offs it would seem a slightly unjust reward for what has been a very chaotic season but I wouldn’t begrudge it.
However, it might actually be in our interests not to get promoted this season. Then Pearson would have the whole summer to rebuild the side as he sees fit and hopefully bring consistency and momentum to the side over the following season, something which would be essential in the Premier League.
Not that I want to admit it, but last night’s match does more for Forest’s survival hopes. As Steve Cotterill acknowledged, they have reached the psychologically important 40-point mark and gives them a handy five-point buffer to the relegation places.
The two clubs, who were early favourites for promotion, as we all know started the season with ex-England managers in charge, had great expectations. As it’s turned out, the season has become a tale of how two cities have failed to fulfil them.
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