Could Leicester City's Current Lineup Compete in the EPL?

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2013

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 09:  Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester City celebrates the opening goal scoresd by team mate David Nugent during the npower Championship Play Off Semi Final  First Leg match between Leicester City and Watford at The King Power Stadium on May 9, 2013 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Leicester City got one step closer to earning promotion to the English Premier League on Thursday with their 1-0 win at home over Watford in the semifinals of the promotion playoffs. 

The Foxes rode the momentum they had with them following their dramatic win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday to clinch sixth place in the table and the final spot in the playoffs. 

As we all have learned in playoff competitions in other sports, the hot team usually goes far into the tournament and sometimes even wins the playoff.

With Leicester City's form on fire at the moment, they have a strong chance of going into Vicarage Road on Sunday and leaving with a spot in the playoff final on May 27 at Wembley Stadium.

If Nigel Pearson's club can pull off the improbable and win their next two matches, they will see themselves back in the EPL for the first time since the 2003-04 season. 

With the Foxes' chances of being promoted getting better by the match, one has to wonder if this club is good enough to stay in the top flight for more than one season. 

As a manager, Pearson has not had a full-time job in the English top flight, but he has seen success in the lower levels of the game with Leicester City. Pearson won the League One title with the Foxes during his first stint as the club's manager in the 2008-09 season.

While he may not have a boatload of experience in the top flight, Pearson will give the club a familiar face to help guide them through the rigorous schedule of the EPL. 

Too many times when a club reaches the EPL a manager is let go and they lose the level of consistency they had in the lower leagues. That should not be the case with Pearson if the Foxes are promoted. 

As for the squad itself, there are a few names that will be familiar to fans of the EPL. Kasper Schmeichel, son of Manchester United great Peter, has come into his own as the first-choice keeper for Leicester City this season and there should be no worries about the Danish international's play in net. 

Other familiar faces in the Foxes' lineup include defender Paul Konchesky, who was a solid full-back at Fulham before making an ill-fated move to Liverpool, and Republic of Ireland international center-back Sean St. Ledger. 

The Leicester back four is a respectable unit, but adding an EPL veteran or two would certainly not hurt the Foxes. 

The Foxes will also have to follow their shrewd transfer strategy from last season. Before this season, the Foxes brought in key contributors Ritchie De Laet and Anthony Knockaert on a permanent basis. They also added forward Chris Wood in January. 

That trio will surely still be at the club next season and their roles in the starting 11 will be even more crucial than they were this season. 

Then there is the case of David Nugent, who before Thursday had not scored since January. Nugent is expected to be the main goalscorer next season for the Foxes no matter what league they play in. 

The former Preston and Portsmouth player will be relied on to provide plenty of goals for Leicester as they find their footing in the top flight. 

Other reliable players in the Foxes' lineup are Danny Drinkwater, Lloyd Dyer and Jeffery Schlupp, but the talent level on the pitch may not be enough to earn 40 points and keep the club safe in the EPL.

As long as the Leicester ownership does not follow the model of Queens Park Rangers in the transfer window, they should be able to keep a strong level of consistency in their lineup for next season.

Consistency in the starting 11 may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but if the same group of players are able to play together on a weekly basis, the Foxes will have a better chance of surviving. 

While all this speculation about Leicester's chances in the EPL next season are fun to read about, the task at the moment is to defeat Watford on Sunday and then take down either Crystal Palace or Brighton & Hove Albion in the playoff final to have a chance at competing in the top flight next season.