Sky Bet Championship: Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Leicester ready for big Christmas
Gary Taylor-Fletcher admits Christmas could be crucial for Leicester, but is backing them to be promotion contenders.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 21/12/13 11:39am
The Foxes are handily perched just three points off the pace at present, with it possible that they could sit top of the Championship tree on 25th December.
A potentially crucial clash with current leaders Queens Park Rangers awaits them on Saturday and were they to secure a comfortable success in that contest and see Burnley drop points against Blackpool, Nigel Pearson's men would surge to top spot.
Taylor-Fletcher concedes that Leicester are entering a defining stage of the season, with further tough tests against Reading and Bolton Wanderers set to take them through to the end of the calendar year.
The experienced frontman told Sky Sports: "We have had Burnley, (Man) City and now QPR and then we have got two massive games as well over Christmas in Reading and Bolton - two big teams. Bolton aren't maybe doing as well as you thought they might do, but two big teams that will be up there come the end of the season.
"We have got a good run and it will give us a test of where we are at and where we want to be come the end of the season.
"We have got four or five tough games coming up and we have to be ready. The main thing is recovery after the game, so you are ready for the next one. That's going to be the most important thing over Christmas.
"If we can get six or seven points out of these next three games, then that will be a good return. We will see where we are come 1st January and where we want to be come the end of the season."
While being well positioned among the frontrunners, Leicester have gone three games without a win.
Taylor-Fletcher insists they are not reading too much into a wobble, with such runs inevitable in a fiercely competitive division, but he is aware of the need to take points from meetings with those in and around them - starting against QPR.
He added: "I don't think it's a case of going the games without a win, it's a case of turning up and performing and matching them, staying in the game and getting something from it - whether that be a point or a win.
"If we get a point it keeps them closer to us and the chasing pack back, it doesn't let them get as close to us. But we need to perform against the teams up and around us as well as those below us. It's vital that we perform.
"This division is one of the most inconsistent in the world. Against any team on their day you can get beat. In the Premier League, if someone like City have a bad day, they always seem to scrape through with a 1-0 win.
"There aren't as many upsets in any other league as there are in ours, so it's a tough league to get out of and to read. It's one of those where we just have to keep going, keep focusing and believing that we can do it."
Breaking QPR down will be no easy task, especially at Loftus Road, with Harry Redknapp's men having collected an impressive 13 clean sheets from their 20 fixtures so far.
Asked how Leicester will approach the challenge put in front of them this weekend, Taylor-Fletcher said: "They are a team that likes to dominate games, to get a goal and then control the game and see it out. They are a good quality team and that's what we need to do, stay in the game and make sure that we perform and battle.
"Staying in the game is the most important thing. If they do score, we have still got the quality to get a few goals. We need to make sure that we try to dominate the game as well."
Taylor-Fletcher will be hoping to play some part in the capital on Saturday, but appreciates that he must bide his time as he tries to convince boss Nigel Pearson that his summer arrival as a free agent should be regarded as more than merely added competition for places.
The 32-year-old forward said: "I think he was looking to use my experience. But me personally, you hope to change someone's mind. Slowly, hopefully, he will see that I can become an important player. Definitely towards the end of the season when the big games come and it's crunch time, I can use my experience there.
"I'd like to have had a few more minutes but I've just got to be patient. The team has been playing well so it's one of them where I feel I have done well when I've been called upon and done a good job for the team. No player likes to be not playing, but you just have to keep your belief and be ready when you are called upon."
Leicester may well turn to Taylor-Fletcher on a more regular basis as the business end of the season approaches, with the former Blackpool man aware of what is required to get out of the second tier - and he believes the Foxes have that much sought-after X-factor.
He added: "Definitely. We have got a good, hungry team who all want to achieve the same thing.
"It's going to be tough, we all know that, but we believe that we will be challenging and we will be there come the end of the season. We just need to believe in ourselves and keep our performances up."
Gary Taylor-Fletcher was talking to Sky Sports on behalf of Sky Bet, the Title Sponsor of The Football League.
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