Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson still pushing for an automatic promotion spot
Nigel Pearson said he still believes his Leicester City side can push for an automatic promotion spot.
City face Leeds tonight at the King Power Stadium looking to return to winning ways after Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Ipswich.
They will also hope to close the eight-point gap that has opened up between themselves and Hull, who are in the second automatic promotion spot.
Pearson admits his side have left themselves plenty to do to get back in contention for promotion, but said he had faith in his players that they can mount a strong challenge during the final 12 games.
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"There is an awful long way to go and I am a realist," said the City boss.
"I know we have quite a bit of work to do but I have a very strong belief in the people I work with, the staff and players alike, and that's how you deal with it.
"We have lost a bit of ground but, with the number of games we have left and the belief we have in ourselves, I think it is important to concentrate on what we can affect moving forward.
"We are focused on trying to get things right and we want to get back to winning ways as quickly as possible."
Leeds are unbeaten in their last three games but have won only three times on the road this season. However, Pearson is expecting a physical challenge from Neil Warnock's side.
"They are very much a front-foot side," he said.
"In other words, they like to get in your face and try to disrupt any flow you have yourselves.
"We have to deal with that and make sure our game-management is right.
"We have to make sure that when we are in possession, we use the ball well.
"We have a lot of good players at the club and we have to make sure that, when we have the ball, we hurt them.
"Regardless of the situation Leeds are in, knowing Neil as I do, he will be wanting to come here and get a result for himself.
"He is a fantastic competitor. He is not everyone's cup of tea but I have always got on really well with him.
"He is someone I have a lot of respect for because he has operated in situations where he has had to deal with a lot of personal flak and he has dealt with it very well."
Pearson added: "He will be wanting to win and I want to beat him."