Newcastle v Leicester, Championship, August 31, 2009
Bank holiday Monday in England is rounded off with Newcastle’s meeting with Leicester, in a match which sees former Magpies caretaker boss Nigel Pearson (pictured) return to St James’ Park.
Pearson had two minor spells in charge of Newcastle following the departures of Glenn Roeder and Sam Allardyce, before leaving the club in February 2008.
After winning promotion from League One last season, Pearson has seen his Foxes side acclimatise well since joining the Championship. Leicester are unbeaten in the league so far this season, having won two and drawn two so far this campaign. In particular, 23-year-old striker Matty Fryatt (2/1 to score) has started the season on fire bagging three goal already, and the forward looks like being a handful for most teams in the division.
Leicester have also added to their attacking options by bringing in some fresh faces this summer. Experienced forward Paul Gallagher (10/3 to score) was recruited from Blackburn increasing the competition for places with Steven Howard, while the Foxes also looked to improve in the centre of the park by buying promising French and former Lincoln midfielder, Dany N’Guessan.
Elsewhere in the team its a mixture of old-heads and young upstarts, with former Liverpool defender Jack Hobbs (12/1 to score) playing at the back alongside 39-year old former England international Chris Powell. While Matt Oakley is the wise head bossing the game in and around the centre-cicle.
Yet, for all Leicester’s early season promise Newcastle will undoubtedly provide the Foxes with their toughest test of the season to date. The Toon have won their last three consecutive matches, currently sitting joint top of the table with 10 points from a possible 12.
The Magpies though will have to overcome a striker shortage. Andy Carroll and Xisco are both sidelined with groin injuries, while leading marksman Shola Ameobi (5/1 to score first) is doubtful with a foot problem. That could offer a rare start for highly-rated upstart Nile Ranger (15/8 to score) to show his potential for the first team.
The Toon’s injury problems extend to midfield where Jonas Gutierrez is struggling with a hamstring strain. On the plus side Nicky Butt and Joey Barton are fit to return, while Newcastle can also boast one of the best defensive records in the country having not conceded in nearly five-and-a-half hours of league football and have only let in one goal so far this season.
101predicts: Newcastle 2 – Leicester 0 (7/1)
Full match odds here.