Leicester City v Middlesbrough (KO - 15:00):
Nigel Pearson's troop of foxes continue their promotion charge at home to Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough. The table-toppers have been in exquisite form, winning six-on-the-bounce, including a 4-1 annihilation of local rivals Derby County a fortnight ago.
There is not much for City fans to complain about at present, with their side scoring freely and winning comfortably both home and away. New signing Kevin Philips caught the eye last weekend, setting up the only goal in a 1-0 win at the expense of Leeds, whilst bullish skipper Wes Morgan has also committed his future to the club for another year.
Boro’ fans then, will be take to their seats at the King Power Stadium with trepidation. Folowing some positive over Christmas, the Riverside boys have notched a further seven points from a possible twelve since the turn of the year.
But Aitor Karanka’s men tend to concede goals and after such a promising run of form, facing up to free-scoring Leicester City on their home turf would surely not have been top of his new-year wish-list.
Blackburn v Derby County (KO - 15:00):
Following consecutive defeats – including a 4-1 mauling at local rivals Leicester – Derby County fans saw a return to form last weekend with hard-fought home win against Brighton. They will be hoping victory can prove to be the catalyst that sees them return to the form that saw them pick up eight wins from ten games under Steve McClaren.
With no major signings expected at the iPro Stadium this January window, the former England manager will be hoping to weather the storm once and for all – no brolly required – and should have a full squad available to help his cause.
The Rams face a Blackburn side faltering after a bad run of results, lying stagnant in eighth place, despite some good all-round performances. But were it not for other teams around them performing poorly, they could be in a worse state.
Rovers looked to be mounting a steady play-off challenge as the campaign progressed. But as always seems to be the case at the Lancashire club, attention has become fixed firmly on off-the-field matters and they have only secured nine points from a possible thirty-three in recent weeks.