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Fan Focus: Tomorrow's Game, Danny Simpson's Plight & More

The 2015-2016 Premier League season officially kicks off tomorrow and what better way to begin proceedings than to get ankle deep in juicy pre-match build up. We spoke to Leicester City FC fan sites @First4LCFC and @LeicesterTID to get their views ahead of the big game.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

So, first off – did you agree with the sacking of Nigel Pearson? As easy as he is to hate, he did a cracking job as Leicester manager. Did he take you as far as he could?

@First4LCFC: Looking at the club from the outside I can see why people disliked Pearson. His general demeanor was dour, and to an extent arrogant, but oddly most people within the club will tell you the opposite. His personality when dealing with the media was far removed from how he seemed in person and with his players, and that combined with the best managerial record at LCFC in modern times meant he was held in high regard with the fans. However as far as his sacking goes I do agree, oddly. At the time I was stunned, but now the dust has settled you can see how NP was a walking PR disaster; "Ostrich-gate", his wrestling match with McCarthy and the slanging match he had (and probably won) with a fan all added up, and the whole sorry episode in Thailand was the final straw.

He was clearly developing as a manager, and at times we looked capable of mixing it with the best of them, but ultimately his behaviour off the pitch spoke louder than his team’s performances on it.

@LeicesterTID: To be honest I think he could have taken us further. His card was marked after the is he/isn't he being sacked saga in February and he didn't exactly behave well after that. Although I was a Pearson fan people forget that as much as he achieved the great escape he also was the manager that got us into that position in the first place.

Claudio Ranieri, Pearson’s replacement, is as experienced as they come. Are you confident that this appointment will see Leicester stand in good stead long term or does it worry you that the club have chosen to go down the tried and tested route?

@First4LCFC: After Ranieri was appointed there was a scramble amongst pundits everywhere to write him, and his new team, off before the season had begun. However he has a strong record at some of the biggest clubs in Europe, and that experience could prove vital for a club looking to consolidate its position in the Premier League. It was easy to get carried away when looking at names for the club. Gus Hiddink, David Moyes and even Jurgen Klopp were all linked to the job, but being realistic, Ranieri is one of the biggest names that we have had manage Leicester, and I for one am excited to see how he takes our club onwards.

@LeicesterTID: It was a case of who was out there. We were linked with every man and his dog including some unknown third tier American club manager. He is the total opposite in manner to Pearson & I think that was what the club were looking for. Of those managers 'short listed' I was more than happy to see his appointment, in fact I had blogged five days prior to this that he was the man for the job (and no, I don't know Saturdays lottery numbers).

How has pre-season gone for your side?

@First4LCFC: Well it has certainly been eventful. With Pearson losing his job the day before the players reported back from the break, a lot of the off-season has focused on who would replace him and then who we would be signing. Fortunately Ranieri has agreed to keep the key backroom staff members at the club and so that has kept disruption to a minimum (within reason).

There was no marquee friendly this year, with the club happy to play smaller local teams instead. However four wins from five and a notable result at Birmingham, coming back from two down to win 3-2, will hopefully give the squad some confidence.

@LeicesterTID: As well as we could have hoped. We remained unbeaten, although this was a close call coming back from 2-0 down to win 2-3 away to Birmingham last Saturday. But, pre-season gives you no indication of the season ahead, it is all about fitness and for us, the new manager assessing his players. How often have you had a fantastic pre-season only to follow it up with a dreadful full season?

How do you see Leicester doing this season in the Premier League? Do you think it’ll be another struggle, or do you foresee massive improvement going forward?

@First4LCFC: Despite what almost all media outlets are predicting, I do genuinely think we will survive the drop. We have signed some quality players, and if we can add one more central midfielder we have strength in depth too. Realistically we will always be looking over our shoulders, but ultimately the quality in the squad combined with the experience of Ranieri, should see us through. 16th, if you’re asking!

@LeicesterTID: I don't think there will be a massive improvement, but as you do I am hoping for some. With the investment that the owners have supplied they are looking for European football as soon as possible. Whilst I think that will be a while off yet, if it comes, I would take mid table security after the drama of last season.

Former Sunderland player Danny Simpson is the only player in either side to play for both teams. How has he done since signing from QPR last year? (Since leaving Sunderland he’s done very little to endear himself to our fans!)

@First4LCFC: In short: very little to endear himself to us either. Across his 13 appearances in all competitions he didn’t exactly set the world alight. Despite Pearson opting for a 5-3-2 that Simpson should relish, his woeful passing, poor positioning and a few key errors led to him being replaced by Albrighton, who played so well City fans quickly forgot about Danny. That is, until he appeared in court charged with the assault of his ex-girlfriend. Not a great season all in all, I would not be too disappointed to see him move on.

@LeicesterTID: As you say, 'little to endear himself'. He’s no better than De Laet in that position, and after his court case the less we say about him the better!

What do you make of Leicester’s transfer business thus far in the summer window?

@First4LCFC: The only transfer out of note has been the departure of Esteban Cambiasso. Gaining legend status in a season, he was instrumental in our survival and will leave a massive hole in the centre of the park.

However our recruitment has been successful. The signing of Robert Huth (£3m), Christian Fuchs (free) and Yohan Benalouane (reported €8m euros) add experience at the back, Shinji Okazaki arrives from Mainz with glowing references from the Bundesliga, and in N’Golo Kante (£5.6m) we have a tough tackling Makelele-esque midfielder (according to L’Equipe).  Whilst not household names, the clubs scouting system have a knack of plucking gems from obscurity (see: Mahrez, Vardy).

@LeicesterTID: We have been linked with more players than Kerry Katona has had husbands. That said, it’s nice to see we have brought younger and more exciting players to the club and not players looking for a last play day, which has been the case in the past. Overall, I am pleased with the signings, although Cambiasso not re-signing was a disappointment.

Sunderland have added some genuinely quality to a side that struggled last season – what do you make of the transfer business done by your opponents this Saturday?

@First4LCFC: Signing Jeremain Lens is a coup, and I don’t think that is an insult to Sunderland. The Dutch international can both score and provide goals: something SAFC have been crying out for over the past couple of seasons. Kaboul and Coates are also canny signings that should address the issue of painfully slow and ageing defenders, and Matthews offers competition at right back.

However, in the signing of Yann M’Vila you can’t help but feel that Advocaat is gambling. His quality is undoubted but controversy has followed him wherever he has played, and his comparisons to Balotelli are both numerous and justified. His fall from grace has been staggering, and the gamble is will this continue, or is Advocaat the man to finally help him realise his potential?

@LeicesterTID: Sunderland feel a bit like Leicester – regardless of who we sign, we still seem to be the pundits favourites to struggle. I feel that a signing from last year could come good for you this season in Jermain Defoe, who of course Leicester were also after.

Who do you see as the ‘danger men’ in the Sunderland side, that can go on and cause Leicester problems?

@First4LCFC:

Defoe: Whilst the diminutive strikers return of 4 goals was modest, that stunner against Newcastle reminded the league that he still has it. Give him the service and Defoe will score.

Lens: As mentioned the tricky winger will be one to watch, Leicester will be hoping he takes a couple of games to settle in.

Johnson: Arguably one of Sunderlands star performers last year. Capable of conjuring something from nothing.

Larsson: DON’T GIVE ANY FREE KICKS AWAY.

@LeicesterTID: To be honest, I don't know a lot of your players. Patrick Van Aanholt may not be a ‘danger’ as such but ex-Leicester players coming back to the City always cause us trouble. Adam Johnson, if he plays, can always cause an upset and Jack Rodwell may well do the same.

Who in Leicester’s team should we be particularly wary of?

@First4LCFC:

Riyad Mahrez: Leicester missed the tricky winger when he was on international duty with Algeria last year. Strong on either foot, with pace and a knack for goal, when given freedom to roam Mahrez can punish teams with his direct approach.

Jamie Vardy: The England International (?!) is an absolute workhorse. His work ethic does belie his quality however, as his electric pace and finishing is a threat (see: Man U).

Kasper Schmeichel: The Danish international missed a huge chunk of last season, and it showed in LCFC’s results. Whilst not quite emulating his famous fathers exploits, Leicester can be sure of not conceding too many with him in goal.

@LeicesterTID: Jamie Vardy, who will run from start to finish if asked to. Riyad Mahrez, when given more of a free role, can turn any game with one move.

And finally – how do you see the game going at the weekend?

@First4LCFC: This may seem biased, but I have got to say 2-1 to LCFC. Whilst I believe Sunderland to be a better team than many suggest, Leicester are strong at home and just edge it.

@LeicesterTID: A bit more open than our last game but then again there is less at stake. Being at home I fancy a 2-0 or 2-1 win to Leicester – sorry guys.