Leicester: Nigel Pearson says play-off pain may help

Foxes are in fine fettle - Pearson

Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson says the Foxes will harness the pain of last season's play-off defeat to help inspire their promotion challenge.

In an extraordinary finish to their Championship semi-final with Watford at Vicarage Road, the Blues were beaten 3-2 on aggregate.

Pearson told BBC East Midlands Today: "It was a very difficult experience.

"What you have to do is draw on that, and make sure you use those experiences to get through the next tough time."

Pearson added: "Considering how last season finished, some people may be surprised that players are upbeat and positive."

Leicester made a strong start last term and were second at the beginning of February before a poor run of just two league wins in 16 matches left them battling to sneak into the top six.

It is with largely the same squad that City will start their Championship campaign at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Left-back Zoumana Bakayogo is City's first, and as yet only, summer signing.

Midfielder Richie Wellens, who was released by the Foxes and has since joined Doncaster, said he is convinced that City are equipped to secure and sustain Premier League football.

While striker Jermaine Beckford also left Leicester to join Bolton Wanderers, defender Wes Morgan remains at the club despite bids coming from close Championship rivals Nottingham Forest.

And transfer speculation linking goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel to Premier League side Hull City were branded as "ridiculous" by the Dane.

"We have had to deal with negative speculation which is never helpful, but all in all I think they are in a good mood," Pearson said.

"We are working hard to keep the group together, the side that got us relative success last season. We weren't too far away.

"We all know what the targets are - we want to get to the Premier League."

And the 49-year-old insists the Foxes have the talent to deliver and match the ambitions of the club's Thai owners, who reappointed Pearson in 2011.

"Unfortunately for us it has not happened at the rate that everyone would like it to happen," he said. "But I still think we have made progress as a club and it is now about taking that next step.

"We have got some good players, talented players, and we need to find that level of consistency that allows us to take us that one step further."