Leicester victory brings a smile to Adams' face

Ferdinand goal lifts Leicester out of danger zone after La Manga misery
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The Independent Football

Leicester City collected the benefit they no doubt hoped for when they dreamed up the idea of taking the squad on a warm- weather, mid-winter break to La Manga. But the victory at Birmingham City, courtesy of Les Ferdinand's goal, which brought to an end a run of 13 Premiership games without a win, surely came at too high a price. At least it brought a smile to Micky Adams' face.

The three points moved the Foxes out of the relegation zone without the services of the three players who spent most of the week in a Spanish jail on charges of "sexual aggression", as the local laws describe it. But it is hardly three cheers for Leicester's unintended method of bonding, however heroic their battle against the odds was. If only they had contented themselves with letting off a fire extinguisher, as Stan Collymore had to bring a summary end on a previous Leicester visit to the expensive, sport-orientated Spanish resort.

While Frank Sinclair, Paul Dickov and Keith Gillespie were not considered for yesterday's game, five of the players who were questioned and released without charge were involved - Steffen Freund and Nikos Dabizas started, Lilian Nalis, Matt Elliott and Danny Coyne were on the bench.

Adams, who offered to resign as Leicester's manager when the La Manga trip went wrong, said: "We wanted to make the right sort of headlines today with our performance and we have done that. I was not surprised by the reaction of the players. We wanted to give something back to our fans and the only thing I have asked was to be committed to the shirt, and I got that."

It was fitting that the decisive goal came from a man renowned for a professional attitude that has seen him prolong his active life in the top flight into his 38th year. Ferdinand struck when he pounced on a ball from Muzzy Izzet to score his 12th goal of the season in a match that inevitably was tense and littered with errors. But the nervousness did not extend to Leicester's occasionally unsteady goalkeeper, Ian Walker, who backed his team's sterling efforts with a series of good saves, most to deny Stan Lazaridis and Clinton Morrison.

One goal from Wayne Rooney was enough to push Portsmouth back into the bottom three after a 1-0 defeat at Everton, while Leeds' mini-revival was halted at Fulham, where Sean Davis and Luis Boa Morte scored in their 2-0 defeat. Wolves need to win today's derby against Aston Villa to escape the relegation zone.

Futures are at stake. Leeds United's remains in doubt because of the £80 million hole the club dug for itself, with Ken Bates, late of Chelsea, apparently now considering becoming involved with a consortium trying to take control at Elland Road. At Leicester it is some players who need to worry about what the coming months hold. Why would a player risk creating problems when injuries, an accepted hazard of their career, can strike at any time? Ask Liverpool's Chris Kirkland. He is out until May with a broken wrist, which dents his hopes of a trip to Portugal with England.

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