LEICESTER, UK – Saturday's lunchtime kick-off sees a potentially exciting East Midlands derby between Leicester City and Nottingham Forest at the King Power Stadium. Liecester are in fifth after a good start to the season. They have been particularly impressive on home turf, winning six of their seven games. Forest have become the division's draw specialists under Sean O'Driscoll. They have seven draws from their eight games, but O'Driscoll will be encouraged by the fact that they have only lost three times.
Leicester have topped the table this year but have suffered a recent drop in form only picking up one point from their last three games. This drop in form has partly coincided with a drying up of goals from the strikers: Jamie Vardy, signed for £1 million after leading Fleetwood Town to the football league last season, started well but has looked uncertain in recent games. David Nugent is their top goalscorer this season and much pressure will be placed upon the former Burnley and Portsmouth man if the Foxes are to achieve promotion.
Manager Nigel Pearson today hailed Wes Morgan as the 'best defender in the division'. All eyes will be on Morgan as he faces his old club tomorrow. Leicester are second favourites for promotion after Cardiff at 15/8 with bet365.
Under Steve McClaren and then Steve Cotterill, last season was a disaster of Forest. New manager Shaun O'Driscoll has cleared out many of last year's operators and many Forest fans would be happy with a season of rebuilding for a promotion charge next year.
Billy Sharp looked a great deadline-day loan-signing from Southampton but he has not hit top form yet. As so often for the Reds, the lack of a reliable goalscorer is holding them back. However bookies still give Forest a chance of promotion at 6/1 with BetVictor, while a top 6 finish is at 7/4 with the same firm.
Local derbies in the Championship are usually end-to-end affairs, so over 2.5 goals looks quite decent at evens with bet365. They are also feisty affairs – Ladbrokes prices a red card at 7/2.
Leicester to win 2-1 might not be a bad bet at 8/1 with BetVictor, while those more interested in longer odds should look at 3/2 at 28/1 with the same company. Forest draw plenty of games, so 2-2 is great value at 16/1 with Stan James. For optimistic Forest fans a 2-0 win looks the best available value at top odds of 25/1 with Coral.
David Nugent and Jamie Vardy will probably start up front together for the hosts. Nugent is 11/2 with Betfred to score the game's opening goal, while Vardy is a 6/1 chance with Ladbrokes. Otherwise Anthony Knockaert has been in great form on the wing for Leicester. He is at 12/1 with Boylesports.
Simon Cox leads the first goalscorer market along with Sharp, but Sharp's superior finishing makes him the more tempting at 8/1 with Coral. Dexter Blackstock has four for the season so far and is 9/1 with Coral. Lewis McGugan always offers value in this market. The attacking midfielder takes penalties and his finishing can be Frank Lampard-like at times. He is good value at 12/1 with BlueSQ.
For those East Midlanders obsessed with getting one over one your near-neighbours there BetVictor are offering a Top Midlands market in the Championship this year, with five teams from the region competing. Leicester lead the way at 8/11, while Forest may be worth a punt at 5/1.