No respite for Adams as Leicester's troubles mount

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Micky Adams's managerial qualities are often likened by Leicester City followers to those of Martin O'Neill. Adams has always been his own man, but his predicament following the arrest of eight Leicester players at La Manga in southern Spain has uncomfortable similarities with O'Neill's position four years ago.

For O'Neill, who had taken his squad for a warm-weather break at the same resort, it began with an early-morning call from his assistant manager. "You won't be happy with the news," John Robertson warned. Several Leicester players had broken curfew to drink in the hotel bar, and Stan Collymore had set off a fire extinguisher, causing damage.

Leicester, an open club with a sharp sense of public relations, fronted matters up by calling a press conference the next day featuring O'Neill and Collymore. The story duly faded from the headlines.

The team, who were also under investigation by the Football Association over FA Cup final ticket irregularities, actually improved their standing to finish eighth in the Premiership.

For Adams, whose side have not won any of their past 15 League and Cup matches, a final placing above the relegation zone would be the pinnacle of his career in management.

The club's descent into administration the previous year left Adams with less money to fund the new campaign than any of his contemporaries, with the obvious exception of Peter Reid at debt-ravaged Leeds United.

Reduced to scanning the "Bosman" free-agent lists, Adams recruited an entire team and more. He felt he had signed "hungry" players, but the first win did not come until the fifth game. However, the 4-0 rout of Leeds, instead of kick-starting the campaign, was followed by five defeats. In the last, a Leicester side in bottom place let slip a 3-0 half-time lead to lose at Wolves.

They showed signs of gelling when they took 10 points out of 12 in an unbeaten November which took them up to 12th place. But although they began December by scoring in the final minute to draw with Arsenal, their last victory remains the 2-0 success at Portsmouth a week earlier.

Leicester have made a habit of throwing away points by leaking late goals. Indiscipline has not helped their cause, with six red cards to date. In January's 5-0 home defeat by Aston Villa the goalkeeper, Ian Walker, reacted in what some observers saw as an over-zealous way towards a pitch invader who remonstrated with him, pushing the man to the floor.

Unable to spend during the transfer window, Adams brought in the former Cheltenham and Stoke manager, Steve Cotterill, as coach in an attempt to create fresh impetus. Leicester promptly let Tottenham take a point with yet another late goal, then drew 0-0 at home to Wolves before heading to Spain.

Adams, who remained at La Manga yesterday, will be thankful Leicester have no match this weekend. With just four victories in 27 Premiership matches, and at least five probably needed from the last 11, they resume the struggle for survival at Birmingham a week tomorrow.