FIRED UP LEICESTER CAN MAKE AMENDS
FEW teams have suffered play-off heartbreak of the magnitude that Leicester did last season.
To be so close to Wembley and to have it snatched from their grasp was something they would have mulled over all summer, but credit to manager Nigel Pearson it appears they have used it to fuel another bid for promotion rather than wonder about how things could and probably should have turned out.
Derby have established themselves as the midtable benchmark in the Championship, not that they would want to.
If you finish above them you’ve had a good year, if you finish below you’re in trouble.
For Leicester to show their strength at Pride Park suggests they will again be battling at the right end of the table and with the experience of last term to power them on few would bet against Pearson’s men being able to go one or two better.
HANDY: Jamie Vardy, right, celebrates with team mates after Derby’s Lee Grant scored an own goal
LEE GRANT Unfortunate to be credited with the own goal
7 Bombed forward at every opportunity to help his side in attack
7 Made a timely block to deny Vardy and keep his side in the match
7 Hardly missed a header and kept Wood quiet all game
6 Solid and dependable as he kept tabs with Vardy
5 Starred for England Under 21s in midweek but unusually quiet for his club
5 Didn’t do enough to create chances for his strikers
6 Couldn’t find the final ball to match his industrious play
7 Never gave up trying but will have more productive days in a Rams shirt
5 Had the best of the chances for the Rams but couldn’t put them away
7 Chased down plenty of lost causes and continues to impress
SUBSTITUTES WARD 7; FOR COUTTS (71) SAMMON 5; FOR RUSSELL (79) NOT USED: LEGZDINS, SMITH, JACOBS, EUSTACE, DAVIES
KASPER SCHMEICHEL The busier of the keepers after the break and hardly put a foot wrong
RITCHIE DE LAET
7 Reverted to full-back after playing at wingback but kept up his attacking instincts
8 Marshalled the defence well and man-marked Martin
9 A man mountain at the back and put his body on the line to keep Derby out
7 Played a part in the goal and didn’t let his side down
MATTY JAMES Always a danger as his set pieces cause problems in the Derby box
6 Didn’t have the chance to show the quality he possesses
8 Ran the midfield for the Foxes and was strong in defence
7 Cheeky back-heel led to Leicester’s opening goal
6 Looked frustrated as the service he requires never materialised in the second-half
5 Looked off the pace and often left isolated in attack
SUBSTITUTES KNOCKAERT 6; FOR WOOD (71) DYER 6; FOR JAMES (71) WAGHORN 6; FOR VARDY (80) NOT USED: WHITBREAD, DANNS, BAKAYOKO, LOGAN