Revitalised Campbell is the star turn in Hoos who at Leicester

Leicester City 0 Middlesbrough 0
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The Independent Online

Leicester's new owners should feel pleased with their purchase despite a lively contest failing to produce a goal. Middlesbrough have splashed out £5.8million on new players to Leicester's £300,000 but the smaller spenders always looked the likelier winners.

The new chief executive, Lee Hoos, sat alongside the chairman Milan Mandaric after a Thai-based consortium took the reins at the Walkers Stadium this week and the manager, Paulo Sousa, will hope that good first impressions will turn into hard cash as he sets out to take Leicester to the Premier League in two years.

"I don't know what my budget will be but I have spoken to the new owners and they have promised to support me in my plans to strengthen the squad," Sousa said. A priority will be to make sure the striker DJ Campbell retains his new sense of belonging after falling out of favour with the former manager Nigel Pearson.

Campbell, who spent the latter part of last season helping Blackpool win promotion, has clearly returned to the Midlands with a new zest for football.

Central to football Sousa described as "sometimes brilliant", Campbell went close twice in as many minutes in the first half, defied first by an outstanding save by Middlesbrough's 19-year-old goalkeeper, Jason Steele. In the second half, he saw a header drift narrowly wide.

Campbell scored 11 in 15 matches for Blackpool, his best run since his non-League days with Yeading, and he was the subject of a £1m bid from the Seasiders, which Leicester turned down.

Leicester's Andy King thumped an early header against the bar and the home side appeared to have a justifiable penalty claim in stoppage time when Middlesbrough's Stephen McManus grabbed the striker Steve Howard by the shirt as he sought to turn and shoot, although Sousa refused to be drawn into a debate over the incident.

"Last season I was very critical of many decisions but this time I have said it will be different," he said. "I want to see all three teams on the pitch have a good game and I will write in my report what I thought about the referee."

Middlesbrough, who had the midfielder Kevin Thomson carried off after a 50-50 challenge with Robbie Neilson, went closest through a swerving free-kick from substitute Gary O'Neill. "This team is finding its feet," their manager Gordon Strachan said. "We need to build a solid platform and then we can start enjoying our football."

Steele impressed Strachan, who preferred the England Under-19 international to Danny Coyne, with regular No 1 Brad Jones seemingly bound for Liverpool. "I think some of the Leicester staff were surprised at how young he is because he didn't play like a boy," Strachan said.

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