THE BIG MATCH
Local bragging rights will be on the line at the King Power Stadium this weekend in the npower Championship as Leicester City host near-neighbours Nottingham Forest in a 12.45pm kick-off on Saturday.
It's a crucial match in terms of local rivalry but it's also an important clash with regards to league positions.
Leicester currently sit inside the Play-Off places in fifth, while Forest lie 11th. They are separated by just four points, though.
Sean O'Driscoll's Forest head into the game on the back of a goalless draw with high-flying Middlesbrough, which was their seventh draw of the season - more than any other club in the npower Championship.
The former Doncaster Rovers boss told the Nottingham Post: "We need to turn draws into wins and I am still not sure if we understand how we do that.
"How do you turn draws into wins? There is no magic formula; you do not push one button and make it happen. You keep doing the same things. Look back at the game and ask yourself what we did well.
"We were intelligent against Middlesbrough. We played in the spaces well, we manipulated the ball well and always picked the right options. I would definitely be happy if we went to Leicester and produced the same level of performance."
The Foxes also come into the game off the back of a goalless draw, against Bolton Wanderers. It was their first point for three matches, having lost their two previous games against Watford and Crystal Palace - their first back-to-back defeats since August.
Despite not getting all three points, manager Nigel Pearson remained upbeat after the match against the Trotters, telling www.lcfc.com: "There were things that went against us, but I thought the performance from the players was fantastic tonight, I'm really pleased for them and with them.
"That sort of performance is what we've been about this season, we played with an intensity that took us to the top at one stage and will do that again if we play with that sort of drive.
"It's the first time we've not scored this season, but we kept a clean sheet and we tried to win it right the way to the end."
Leicester Defender Paul Konchesky will miss the East Midlands derby with a hamstring injury but centre-back Zac Whitbread is available against after serving a one-match ban.
Forest, meanwhile, will be without Radi Majewski, Sam Hutchinson and Daniel Ayala. Midfielder Jermaine Jenas, who has missed the last two games with a foot injury, will be given a late fitness test.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Michael Appleton is the latest boss to move clubs in The Football League and he will take to the Blackpool dugout for the first time this weekend as the Tangerines host Bolton Wanderers.
The 36-year-old ended his year-long spell as Portsmouth boss to become the new manager of the Lancashire club, who sit 12th in the npower Championship, taking over from Ian Holloway who recently joined Crystal Palace.
Holloway replaced Dougie Freedman at Selhurst Park, and it's Freedman who Appleton comes up against first - as his 17th-placed Bolton are the visitors to Bloomfield Road.
The 38-year-old Scot has had an instant impact at the Reebok Stadium, following his move from Palace, guiding the Trotters to a win at home to then-leaders Cardiff City, before a respectable goalless draw against Leicester City in midweek. Now the former striker is aiming for some consistency.
"There are no complaints from me," Freedman commented on www.bwfc.co.uk. "We have come away with four points from two of the top teams in the League.
"We have a fantastic set of players at this club. They have a real desire to win football matches, to defend and attack in the right way. They come in every morning and work hard at their games and give 100 percent.
"We are striving to get consistency into our games and ensure that week in week out we play to the right level and keep the same standards."
Blackpool ended a run of five games without a win in midweek - beating Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 - and Appleton will, of course, want to follow that up with a victory in his first game at the helm.
First-team coach Ashley Westwood has made the move from Pompey to the Tangerines with Appleton and the former Manchester United trainee can't wait to get started.
He told www.blackpoolfc.co.uk: "I'm looking forward to the challenge and the ambition to get back in that Premier League mix. If you don't want to work in a mix like that you're involved in the wrong game. The chance to get to the big stage is what everyone will be pushing towards.
"What a better place to start really, in a derby and against a club like Bolton who are one of the sides who you'd think will be challenging come the end of the season. It's a great occasion to go and test yourselves against one of the best sides in the league."
ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION
All the action in the npower Championship begins on Friday as Middlesbrough host Sheffield Wednesday in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Three points for the Boro would see them move to the summit of the division, while three points for the Owls would lift them further away from trouble at the foot of the division.
Below Sheffield Wednesday in the table is Barnsley, Peterborough United, Bristol City and rock-bottom Ipswich Town.
The Tykes entertain Huddersfield Town in a first meeting between the two Yorkshire clubs since 2006, Posh host current leaders Crystal Palace, while Mick McCarthy's Tractor Boys face the ever-improving Burnley.
Bristol City, meanwhile, have to wait until Sunday for their game. They welcome Chris Powell's 19th-placed Charlton Athletic to Ashton Gate.
Birmingham City remain in the mix at the bottom, sitting 18th, but they are still just five points outside the Play-Off places. They have a chance to measure themselves against a side in the top six this weekend as they visit Blackburn Rovers.
The other sides in the Play-Off contingent are also in action; third-placed Cardiff City will hope to get back to winning ways following a shock 5-4 defeat to Charlton Athletic in midweek as they host Hull City, who sit one place below them in the standings. David Meyler could make his debut for the Tigers after joining on loan from Sunderland.
Elsewhere, ninth-placed Brighton And Hove Albion finally recorded a win in midweek - their first for nine matches - by beating Peterborough 1-0, and they now meet Wolverhampton Wanderers who are in a dry patch of their own with no win in five.
The remaining games in the npower Championship see in-form Millwall host Nigel Clough's Derby County and Watford travel to Leeds United.
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