6:00am Monday 21st April 2014
JAY Spearing has no designs on being a perfect party host against Leicester City tomorrow.
Nigel Pearson’s side can guarantee the title with three points to go along with the Premier League promotion they secured a fortnight ago.
The Foxes have already inflicted one telling blow on Wanderers this season, rattling five past them at the King Power Stadium in December.
That 5-3 victory saw Dougie Freedman hail his opponents as the best side in the Championship – and while the manager’s prophecy has come true, Spearing believes the Whites are now a tougher prospect.
“We’re a different team now,” he said. “I actually think we played well against them away from home. We went a bit lackadaisical and they smashed two goals right at the end that I don’t think they really deserved.
“We played some nice football, though, and I think the scoreline was a bit much.
“I know they’ll want the win on Tuesday because they are going for the title but we’ve got two home games left and we want to show that we’re capable of being up among the top teams.
“We know the first few months of this season were not good enough, but in the last six weeks or so we’ve actually started to play the way we can.”
Spearing is right – had the Championship kicked-off on February 1, Wanderers would be in contention for a play-off spot.
But the desperate start to the campaign, which saw the club make their worst start for a century, has proved impossible to shrug off, leaving the likes of Leicester and Burnley streaking clear at the top.
Spearing spent some time under Pearson at Leicester in 2010 when the Foxes were playing in League One and is not surprised that he has fashioned such an impressive side.
“He knows exactly what he wants from the team, just the like gaffer now, he’d put a game-plan there and you’d be told to go out and play it,” he said.
“It was my first time leaving Liverpool and Leicester really looked after me at the time. I still keep in touch with a lot of them.
“Personally-speaking, there’s no extra motivation because it’s Leicester. Any game I play in I want to shine and show that I can play at the top level – it doesn’t matter if it’s Charlton or anyone else.”
While Spearing is not concerned with Leicester’s title exploits, he admits that another championship race has grabbed his attention.
Had the midfielder sat on the remaining year of his contract at Liverpool last summer, he may have been part of Brendan Rogers’ squad currently leading the way in the Premier League.
But there is not a ounce of regret in the dyed-in-the-wool Reds’ voice as he watches his beloved club go for their first league title in 24 years. “Brendan has come in and got them playing tremendously well – it’s there for them to lose now,” he said.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll win that league because every single one of them deserves it.
“I don’t just think the fans but the whole city would be on a high for weeks, years, I don’t know how long that kind of feeling could last for.
“It’s been a long time coming. The club should have been in the Champions League year in, year out.
“Now they are slowly getting towards where they should be – but if they can win the title along the way it’ll be tremendous, won’t it?”
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