Nigel Pearson’s credentials to remain under Leicester’s employ long-term were frequently called into question last term and, should he wish to avoid a similar hounding from all corners of the media, he dare not miss a step when the music restarts.
A dance with Middlesbrough is one that the Foxes have traditionally enjoyed and when the fixture generator pitted Pearson against the club he captained to promotion as a player, he should have been deliriously happy. They’re 8/5 to win at the Riverside and there’s cause to believe that this price will prove a shrewd investment.
Leicester’s Thai owners will be settling for nothing less than promotion to the Premier League this campaign and, having been particularly ruthless with managers since buying the club in 2010, they’ve allowed Pearson the valuable commodity of time to achieve their goals.
This was rewarded with play-off qualification last season, but the east-Midlanders were despatched by Watford in chaotic fashion at the semi final stage.
Allowing Pearson further opportunity to meet their lofty targets must be seen as a credit to them and now he has to repay their loyalty if he wants to keep his job.
Points early on, therefore, are crucial and the Foxes’ pre-season form suggests that Pearson has struggled to eradicate the disappointment of their play-off near miss in 2012/13, with Port Vale the only league club they managed to see off.
However, non-competitive exploits are an insufficient yard stick to determine how a club may fare when the real action gets underway and Leicester’s track record against Boro makes a win on their venture to the north east one of the best value bets of the opening day.
Tony Mowbray’s men last bettered Leicester in 2002, 10 unbeaten matches have taken place since from the visitor’s perspective, who collected six points from one of their favoured foes last season.
Few sides flopped as badly as the Teessiders following the dawn of 2013 and, after losing a large quantity of their already threadbare squad in the summer, they don’t look in fitting shape to usurp the odds that marginally favour the Foxes.
Leicester’s 3/1 promotion price may not hold much appeal when measured up with the claims of others, but punters should take advantage of Ladbrokes’ opening day generosity by backing them to win at Boro.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date