Leicester City 4, Watford 1: Allen's pre-match antics inspire Foxes to a timely four-star display

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The Independent Online

Leicester City's players were reminded last week that there is a wacky side to Martin Allen. The fans saw it for themselves on Saturday.

One point from six and a somewhat charmed Carling Cup victory over Accrington Stanley were insufficient to dissuade him from walking alone to the centre circle, shortly before kick-off, arms stretched above his head. It was his brazen response to newspaper talk of unrest with his chairman, Milan Mandaric, and it was followed by a surprisingly emphatic win in an exceptionally niggly game.

"All the innuendo, bits and bobs and rubbishy stuff doesn't affect me," Allen said. "In my first game here, I kept a low profile but I thought it was time I put my shoulders back and my chest out. I stared at every corner of the ground and the response I got was magnificent. The supporters now know nothing will break me. I'm not going to sneak into the dug-out, hoping nobody notices me. I'll lead from the front."

Leicester's fans warmed to it all and they have a dressing-room presence as well, following Allen's decision to cover virtually every inch of wall space with messages pointing out the pride the fans have in their club.

It is for the manager to decide where psychological geeing-up stops and information overload starts, though his statement after 14 summer signings that "When you see all the players here run out at training, it's like a scene from Zulu" confirmed that he revels in the madhouse mood.

Alarmingly for Adrian Boothroyd, Watford were totally in control for 15 minutes but in disarray thereafter, once Iain Hume had speared in a shot from almost 30 yards.

Throughout their Premiership ordeal last season, Watford prided themselves on competing even when they lost. Here, they collapsed at the start of the second half, conceding two more goals, to DJ Campbell and Alan Sheehan, and being saved by the woodwork on two further occasions.

Mark De Vries' expertly-taken first Leicester goal since January 2006 confirmed the soft underbelly Watford carried and Marlon King's penalty was too little and too late to be of any significance.

Boothroyd, who kept a comparatively low profile by sitting with his directors in the first half, was dismayed at how spectacularly Watford's 100 per cent start to the season disintegrated around them.

Taking the need to find a positive spin to new levels, he said: "It could be our best result of the season and be one of the defining moments. Perhaps we turned up thinking everybody was frightened of us, so it's good to get a kick up the backside."

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