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Contrasting tale of two cities when Stoke meet Leicester

18 September 2015, 20:35

London - Only 60 miles separate Stoke from Leicester but in football terms a much broader gulf has opened up between two clubs representing two cities in the English heartland.

Leicester City, who won seven of their last nine Premier League matches last season to escape relegation, have continued in that form and are currently second in the table, four points behind leaders Manchester City and unbeaten after five matches.

Also read: City hope for boost from Aguero return

Established top flight residents Stoke City, who finished ninth, have yet to win after two draws and three defeats and after an influx of new players in the summer, are desperate to end that run and pick up three badly needed points.

Last season was Leicester's first back in the top flight after a decade away and their first win came at Stoke in mid-September.

Another win there on Saturday could see the pressure begin to mount on Stoke boss Mark Hughes, but he was upbeat when he met reporters at his post-match briefing on Friday.

"We are looking forward to this period of fixtures," he said.

"Performances have been OK but we'll improve and we will register points I'm sure. I'm encouraged by the group -- there is a lot of talent inside the building. They have the determination and belief to have a good season."

Regarding Leicester he said: "They've started the season really well and are still riding the crest of a wave following the end to their last campaign.

"When Claudio Ranieri was appointed it took some people aback but Claudio has tremendous experience and has managed at the very highest level."

Hughes is still working out how to merge the creative talents of Xherdan Shaqiri, Ibrahim Afellay and Marco van Ginkel who all arrived in the summer, as well as coping without defensive midfielder Steven Nzonzi, who went to Sevilla and the injury to defender Ryan Shawcross.

But the return of Bojan Krcic, who came off the bench in last week's 2-0 defeat at Arsenal, could be just the tonic they need ahead of a run of league fixtures in which they will fancy their chances against the likes of Bournemouth, Aston Villa, Swansea City, Watford and Newcastle United.

Krcic has not started in the league since rupturing a knee ligament in January, but says he is fully fit and raring to go.

- Reuters


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