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Nouble Set to Start at Leicester
Friday, 21st Feb 2014 12:22

Frank Nouble looks set to be the man to replace injured top scorer David McGoldrick when the Blues take on league leaders Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Manager Mick McCarthy has ruled out Sylvan Ebanks-Blake playing from the off – “He’s not ready to start” – and has hinted that Paul Taylor will have to win a place in his side: “He’s got to get in the team and when he gets in the team he’s got play well enough to stay in it.”

McCarthy has also dismissed playing a five-man midfield against the high-flying Foxes and so Nouble seems set to line-up alongside Daryl Murphy – recalled to the Ireland squad yesterday – in place of McGoldrick, who is facing around 12 weeks on the sidelines having suffered a partial tear of the medial ligament in his right knee.

The Town boss has other decisions to make elsewhere in his side with Scott Loach having impressed in goal in place of Dean Gerken in last week’s 0-0 home draw with Blackpool.

Gerken is now over his neck problem and has been McCarthy’s favoured keeper this season, however, the Blues manager has tended to stick with players who have come into the side and done well, so Loach could well get only his second league start since August at the King Power Stadium.

Aaron Cresswell is a shoo-in at left-back, while Luke Chambers is likely to continue at right-back, despite Frazer Richardson having got an U21 match under his belt earlier in the week. Tommy Smith and Christophe Berra will continue at the heart of the defence.

McCarthy will be forced into one change from the midfield which started the Blackpool game with Luke Hyam ruled out with the hamstring problem which forced him off in the early stages until the Middlesbrough match in a fortnight’s time.

Paul Green could come in alongside Cole Skuse in the centre with Stephen Hunt likely to continue on the left, while Carlos Edwards may get the nod ahead of Paul Anderson on the right, the former Bristol City man having put in a disappointing display from the bench last week.

Alternatively, Green could start on the right with Jay Tabb or perhaps even Ryan Tunnicliffe in the centre if a loan deal to bring the Fulham midfielder back to Portman Road can be done with the same haste as the recent move for Green.

McCarthy has said all season that Leicester are the best team in the division and believes they have stepped up a level since losing in the play-off semi-finals to Watford last season.

“Jamie Vardy is probably more of a handful. He came in from Fleetwood and was an instant hit but he’s a proper player, along with David Nugent,” he said.

“Nigel Pearson’s got Danny Drinkwater and Matty James playing in the centre of the park, I think Drinkwater is probably the best midfield player in the Championship by a good stretch.

“Lloyd Dyer and Anthony Knockaert are two really top wingers. I think it’s probably the side, in the main, that lost [in the play-offs last year]: Paul Konchesky, Wes Morgan, Marcin Wasilewski, the big Polish centre-back, who I think has done really well, Ritchie De Laet and Kasper Schmeichel. Then they’ve got Liam Moore.

“Chris Wood doesn’t even get a game and he was the best centre forward in the league last year. I think they’ve just regrouped.

“I think they were as good as anybody last year, I just think they’ve taken it to a different level this year, whether that’s down to confidence or maybe being a year wiser. They’ve stuck together, they stuck with the manager, they’re just a top, top team.”

The Town boss says he relishes challenges like Saturday with few expecting the Blues to grab all three points from a fixture they lost 6-0 last season.

“I guess we’ve got everything to gain, we’ve got something to lose, but I don’t think anybody is thinking that we’re going to go up there and win,” he said. “That’s the little sprat that’s up there that we can catch.

“It would be nice and it would be nice to put on more of a show than we did last year because we got absolutely slapped. That was embarrassing.”

Town will be in their red and black away kit in which they are yet to record a victory.

The Foxes will be without left-back Paul Konchesky, who was red-carded in the 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest in midweek, while one-time Town target Sean St Ledger (groin) and Tom Hopper (shin) are also sidelined.

Town have had the upper hand historically, winning 27 games between the sides (27 in the league), drawing 18 (17) and losing 25 (23).

Leicester are currently top of the table on 68 points, eight ahead of Burnley in second and 23 above the Blues in ninth. The Foxes are unbeaten in 12 in the Championship stretching back to early December, winning nine and drawing three, including their last two games.

They have lost only once in the Championship at the King Power Stadium this season, a 2-0 reverse against Nottingham Forest in November, winning 11 and drawing three.

In November, David Nugent continued his remarkable goalscoring record against the Blues as Leicester came from behind to beat Town 2-1 at Portman Road.

David McGoldrick put Town in front in the second minute but Nugent – who took his total to 13 goals in 12 matches against the Blues and nine in seven at Portman Road – scored twice in six minutes as the Foxes improved after the break.

Last time the teams met at the King Power Stadium, in November 2012, shortly after Mick McCarthy took over as manager, Town fell to their second successive hammering on the road as they were smashed 6-0.

Inevitably Nugent scored twice early on, the first a penalty, with Lloyd Dyer, Anthony Knockaert, Martyn Waghorn and Marko Futacs netting the rest.

Leicester manager Pearson was interviewed for the job as Town boss in 2006 but lost out to Jim Magilton, while no current player from either side has represented Saturday’s opposition.

Fans travelling by car should note that Leicester are warning that there may be disruption in the city due to the demolition of a flyover.

Saturday’s referee is James Linington from Newport, Isle of Wight, who has shown 73 yellow cards and six red in 24 games so far this season.

Linington’s most recent Town match was the 3-1 home victory over Middlesbrough in September when he booked Luke Chambers, Luke Hyam and one Boro player.

Squad from: Loach, Gerken, Chambers, Richardson, Cresswell, Mings, Smith, Berra, Skuse, Green, Tabb, Wordsworth, Anderson, Edwards, Hunt, Murphy, Nouble, Taylor, Ebanks-Blake, Lee.

Photo: Action Images

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rambohambo added 12:47 - Feb 21
If he starts theyl need Taylor to start to add some sort of threat

Tractamatt added 12:48 - Feb 21
Considering the amount of defending we'll have to do probably the best decision as. Would be ecstatic with a point just hope we don't get a hiding COYB

TimmyH added 12:51 - Feb 21
Well there's a suprise!!

Keaneish added 12:54 - Feb 21
We're going for a draw.

muccletonjoe added 13:08 - Feb 21
Can't honestly see us picking up a point tomorrow. Wheather frank plays or not.

WadeyBlue added 13:10 - Feb 21
rubbish. going for 0-0 then.

martleshamitfc added 13:15 - Feb 21
Well we all know Nugent will score!!

battyblue added 13:16 - Feb 21
As far as i can see when Taylor got in the team he played well enough to stay there with highest match ratings Frank Nouble gets nowhere near game after game so thats Cr-p whatever the score tomorrow there a very good chance it will be ipswich 0 Mick sometimes you talk out off your a-se.

PYBlue added 13:33 - Feb 21
Well we won't win then

Kentish_Tractor added 13:38 - Feb 21
Taylor has done more in his 10 minute cameos than nouble has done in his 80-odd minute appearances on pitch. This news angers me. Mick's loyalty to nouble is admirable, but WHAT does Taylor have to do to get a start? People may say we are playing frank to be better defensively as he is big and closes down their defense. But from what I recall Leicester aren't a particularly big side. Nouble cannot hold up a ball or dribble for S***, whereas Taylor can, meaning we hace more of a chance of keeping it up their end or even maybe SCORING with tayls. Why can Mick not see this?!

yorksblue added 13:43 - Feb 21
Going to have to settle for a bore draw at best

LankHenners added 13:45 - Feb 21
I'd like to see a right midfielder at right midfield tomorrow. Odd that Taylor seems to have to constantly "prove himself" but in all honesty, the best thing for Frank is a run of games as he is just very inconsistent. If he learned how to use his power and pace effectively then we'd have a very good option upfront. Unfortunately, like Hyam, anything wrong he does is taken as the worst thing in the world, whereas if anyone else had done it, the reaction would be one of annoyance, but no-one would mind so much as they would take it as just a mistake.

Frank has played well in the past, albeit in only a few games, especially against Birmingham in the final home game of last season and also Peterborough away last season. Would like to see Taylor play as much as anyone but I do feel a bit for Frank with all the criticism, most of which is rather unnecessary or exaggerated. Come on, if he starts tomorrow, let's get behind him and support him, which I assume is what we're supposed to do as "supporters"?!

Shineyblueknives added 15:06 - Feb 21
Nooooooooooooooooooo uble.
If you had 100ft wide goals I dont think he'll be anwhere near as prolific as McG

Taricco_Fan added 15:07 - Feb 21
He's useless.

WickedBlue added 15:14 - Feb 21
What a relief I was scared he was going to put a goal threat in there for minute! Please Frank make that statement me putting my foot in my mouth and actually score on Saturday. I would love to taste the flavour of humble pie but I just can't see it.

Surco72 added 15:18 - Feb 21
Big surprise their Mick , team was poor last week and created very little so will pick almost the same team apart from replacing some injured players with players selected for their defensive abilities rather than attacking

Kesgraveblue57 added 15:24 - Feb 21
Yes I want Frank to do well against Leicester, but it is clearly 3 points for Leicester on Saturday, the town are a mid table team on a good day, and only a little better than last year team

whosroundisitanyway added 15:32 - Feb 21
Go on Frank! "GET INTO EM & F@(K EM UP"

NoelTheDub added 15:48 - Feb 21
Im not Franks best supporter but if I was to play him it would be v LEIC just to put himself about, maybe a good chance for Taylor to partner him.But i very much doubt Mick will be that brave its not in his nature.Only waiting for Mick to talk up the LEIC team berfoe we kick a ball.

tractorboybig added 15:58 - Feb 21
Mick has written us off for this one. Must be resting a goal scorer for the next game.

jpring89 added 16:01 - Feb 21
great team selection spot on. 3 points here we come...

Scribble added 16:04 - Feb 21
MM and Taylor obviously have difference but I'm a bit frustrated that MM will put his squabbles over the needs of the club, with McGoldrick out surely he needs to suck it up and play Taylor, Nouble simply cannot fill those shoes

bluey123 added 16:10 - Feb 21
Crap manager awful selections throughout season hope we get thrashed and get rid of this idiot

nitroblue1970 added 16:12 - Feb 21
play franck at CB...will scare the crap out of nugent. Mingsy as makeshift striker!!!

ArnieM added 16:33 - Feb 21
Jeeeze guys, give Nouble and MM a break here and just support whoever has that Blue shirt on. Trust me , the lads are going to need our support between now and the end of the season.

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