Nigel Pearson praised the "character and moral fibre" of his players after Leicester breathed new life into their npower Championship play-off challenge by coming from behind to beat fellow top-six contenders Bolton 3-2 at the King Power Stadium.

Despite enduring a nine-game winless run at the worst possible time of the season, the Foxes came into the match still hanging on to the coat-tails of the visitors, who on the back of eight victories in their last 10 outings had squeezed their way into promotion contention.

Pearson's side got off to a bad start falling behind in the third minute to David Ngog's penalty. However, two goals in as many minutes just before half-time turned the game on its head.

Chris Wood's 39th-minute penalty brought Leicester level before Lloyd Dyer put them ahead in emphatic fashion after 41 minutes, crashing a shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar. Darren Pratley swept home an equaliser midway through the first half but Jeff Schlupp's volley 11 minutes from time settled matters, despite some intense late pressure from Bolton.

"The players worked very hard and showed a lot of character to come away with the three points," said Foxes boss Pearson. "I'm pleased with the players but I'm also pleased for them after coming through to win on what could have been a potentially difficult night after falling behind so early to what was a soft penalty in my opinion."

Asked how significant a win it was for his side given that it saw Leicester replace Bolton in the final play-off spot, Pearson said: "I don't know yet. It's just one game and we've got another tough game at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

"It's important that we won though, no doubt about that. It is a big win for us, we needed to win the game and we have."

Bolton boss Dougie Freedman remained upbeat despite defeat to one of their direct rivals.

He said: "What a fantastic game of football that was. What a great advert for the Championship. A neutral would have thoroughly enjoyed it and I was no different. It was a frantic end-to-end game which was full of spirit from both sides."

"It was Leicester's night in the end but I know what I have in that dressing room - players with plenty of spirit. Their performance was fantastic and we created plenty of opportunities. That kind of form and spirit in the next three games will give us a chance to get back into the play-offs."