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Championship weekend betting preview: Tigers to prove their point


The time is fast approaching when Leicester will have to kiss goodbye to those fanciful ideas of playing Premier League football next season and it just so happens that a club with numerous past connections could be responsible for hammering the final nail in their promotion coffin this weekend.

When the Foxes poached Nigel Pearson from Hull City in early November, it was supposed to trigger a sharp reversal in fortunes for the two clubs with the strategy-reliant Tigers expected to slide down the table as an expensively-assembled Leicester side passed them in the opposite direction.

However, little has really altered in the subsequent four months with both teams still ninth and 12th in the standings - exactly as they were on the day Pearson left - Hull having accumulated an extra six points during that time. And it would give the Humberside outfit immense pleasure to underline their current superiority with victory at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

As peacefully as Pearson's move passed off at the time, he obviously put a few noses out of joint by walking out of the KC to rejoin his former club, having put together a tidy outfit in his first season and talked in terms of mounting promotion push this term.

Both fans and players alike bought into his vision, so both are bound to feel cheated by his departure and you do wonder whether that sense of rejection has been the driving force behind them continuing on such a straight path with the solid foundations he put in place.

In all areas of the pitch, Hull boast Pearson signings who understand how their old boss operates and they will know exactly what to expect from Leicester, not least defender Jack Hobbs and striker Matty Fryatt, both of whom represented the Foxes during Pearson's previous stint at the club.

But the man with most to prove might be Nick Barmby, the novice who suceeded Pearson in the KC dugout, much to the apparent bemusement of Pearson himself who scoffed in a television interview when asked whether the inexperienced Barmby was well-equipped enough to fill his shoes.

Barmby was only caretaker manager at the time but he has subsequently been handed the role on a permanent basis and one can only imagine the fire that burned within when he caught that stinging response on the Football League Show a few hours after he had just masterminded a 2-1 win over his old boss.

So don't be under any illusions that Hull got closure in the reverse fixture on December 3 because Barmby certainly didn't and he could barely contain his excitement when asked about this game following Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at home to leaders Southampton, albeit stopping short of explaining why in any great detail.

Beyond the psychoanalysis, the value in odds of 3/1 about the visitors boils down to the simple fact that Leicester are currently shipping goals in a very un-Pearson-like manner, whereas Hull have kept clean sheets in nine of the last 12 matches. The setback against Saints in midweek was their first in 11.

Recommended bet:

1.5pts Hull to beat Leicester at 3/1 (Boylesports)

For more betting news and views, please visit Bestofthebets.com. You can also follow Mike Holden on Twitter: @Miguel_BOTB