sport

Pearson proud after promotion

Nigel Pearson has expressed his delight after Leicester sealed a return to the Premier League but is already looking ahead to trying to win the Championship title and then preparing for next season.

The Foxes have achieved promotion with six games to spare after Queens Park Rangers and Derby County both lost on Saturday.

Leicester had moved to the brink on Friday after beating Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 to extend their unbeaten run to 21 games, and they can now look forward to competing in the top flight for the first time since 2004.

"I am delighted for everyone associated with the club. It has been a long time coming," Pearson told Sky Sports News.

"Now we want to finish the season on a high and try to win the Championship."

Leicester are currently nine points clear of second-placed Burnley and Pearson is proud of the character shown by his players after an agonising end to last season.

Having made it to the play-offs, Leicester were knocked out by Watford in the semi-finals after Anthony Knockaert had a penalty saved and Troy Deeney scored on the break in the 90th minute.

Pearson said: "We were knocked out in a pretty cruel way and there is always going to be a question mark about how the players come back, but they came back with a really positive outlook.

"It was clear from day one in pre-season that everybody had the same sort of approach about how we would attack the season.

"It has gone very, very well and I think we have been consistent throughout the season, and it is really special for us to have achieved promotion with six games left.

"We have been front-runners since, probably, Boxing Day, and 21 games unbeaten is not easy."

Attention will now turn to how well equipped Leicester are to deal with life in the Premier League, and Perason concedes that he will have to bring in reinforcements.

However, he has made it clear that the players who have got the job done in the Championship will be given a chance to shine on the big stage.

Asked when the planning would start for next season, Pearson said: "Two years ago, to be fair.

"We have been planning for the eventuality of getting to the Premier League. It's an ongoing process and we are well down the line in terms of where we think we are at with the squad and how we strengthen and improve.

"But the players who have been a part of this team deserve the right and the opportunity to perform at the next level, and it is about adding to what we have."