Leicester vs Preston predictions: Flying Foxes can stay top of the Championship
Leicester have settled into the season better than most supporters dared hope, with many expecting a bumpy start after a summer of upheaval.
But the squad has taken the departure of star players in their stride and have adapted well to the arrival of manager Enzo Maresca, who has made an impressive start at the club.
The arrival of third-placed Preston will be a good test, with North End having enjoyed their own fast start to the Championship campaign.
A home win would cement Leicester’s top-of-the-table status but victory for Preston would see them move to within a point of their high-flying hosts.
Leicester winger Kasey McAteer could be out for six weeks with the hamstring injury he picked up last weekend.
Midfielder Dennis Praet and young striker Tom Cannon are both unavailable with back problems while centre-back Callum Doyle is out until the new year following knee surgery.
Centre-back Jannik Vestergaard is suspended after picking up five yellow cards.
Preston remain without long-term absentees Emil Riis (ACL) and Ched Evans (spinal cord) in attack and right-back Calvin Ramsay, who is close to recovering from a knee injury.
Preston won six consecutive league matches between August and September but in their last two outings drew 1-1 at struggling Rotherham and lost 4-0 at home to West Brom.
And the expected goals ratings during North End’s winning run suggest they may have got lucky as Ryan Lowe’s men only twice created better goalscoring opportunities than their opponents in that sequence.
Leicester’s form is more convincing as their eight wins from nine Championship matches have largely come against stronger opponents, including a 4-1 defeat of Southampton, 2-0 victory over Norwich and 2-1 win against Coventry.
The Foxes have also outperformed their opponents in expected goals in seven of their nine league games.
Maresca’s men have scored at least twice in six of their eight wins and have netted 11 goals in their last four.
Preston’s lofty position is slightly misleading given they have had a kind fixture list and have claimed a series of narrow wins against teams not expected to challenge for promotion.
Last weekend’s 4-0 home defeat to West Brom was only their second meeting with a team in the top 10 of the ante-post Championship title betting.
And while North End did also edge Sunderland 2-1 in August, they were second-best but were let off the hook by the then-misfiring Black Cats.
They could face a second heavy defeat in five days when they head to the King Power, with Leicester already starting to look like the real deal under Maresca.
The Foxes are still far from the finished article, as would be expected after just 12 competitive games under a new manager, but are creating a huge number of chances and are likely to take enough of those to comfortably see off North End.
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