Pearson backs Phillips to help Foxes win promotion
London: Leicester manager Nigel Pearson has backed new signing Kevin Phillips to play a significant role in his side`s bid to reach the Premier League for the first time in 10 years.
Phillips, 40, marked his Leicester debut after signing until the end of the season by stepping off the bench in the second half to help set up David Nugent`s late winner in a 1-0 success at Leeds on Saturday.
Leicester secured a sixth straight league win for the first time in 21 years and extended their lead at the top of the table to five points.
Phillips played a key role in his new side`s 88th minute winner as he deftly stepped over defender Liam Moore`s cross into the box to let the ball run through for Nugent, who duly stabbed the ball home.
"He has a presence and a reputation, for somebody who`s the age he is, to be able to get into a game as quickly as he did," Pearson said.
"It`s testament to how he`s looked after himself and it`s not just the physical side of it, when you get older, to still have that desire and that hunger to play is quite remarkable.
"There won`t be too many players of his ilk and I`m delighted that we`ve got him.
"He showed an awful lot of intelligence out there. Hopefully that will be important for us in the second half of the season."
Reading manager Nigel Adkins has vowed to keep leading goalscorer Adam Le Fondre at the Madejski Stadium after his hat-trick inspired a 7-1 demolition of Bolton.
Le Fondre scored three times before half-time to take his tally for the season to 10 goals, but he has complained to Adkins lately about his lack of game time.
Adkins, whose side are sixth in the table, wants to hang onto the forward, saying: "My stance on Adam has been exactly the same since I joined the club. He is a great goalscorer and we`ve got no intention of letting him go anywhere else.
"Whether we are linked to or bring in other forwards is irrelevant. We value Adam very highly and if you want to be successful, you need to have a strong group of strikers."
Sean Dyche insists he was delighted with the performance of his Burnley side despite the 1-1 draw against Sheffield Wednesday seeing the Clarets drop out of the automatic promotion places.
Striker Sam Vokes deservedly put the hosts ahead just before half-time with a calm finish.
But that lead lasted less than two minutes before Chris Maguire slammed home from close range to earn a share of the spoils at Turf Moor.
"It was one of those strange ones where we have been totally dominant from start to finish in virtually every level of the game," Clarets manage Dyche said.
"Other than the scoreline, I`m delighted with the performance. We had a plethora of chances but we`ll have to do that at sometime in the season, dig in and you just get what you can."
Elsewhere, on-loan Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford earned fourth placed Derby a 1-0 victory over Brighton at the iPro Stadium.
Fifth placed Nottingham Forest made it 10 matches unbeaten and sent a warning to their promotion rivals, as Blackburn were swept aside 4-1 at the City Ground.