Chris Wood scores twice in Leicester debut

TONY SMITH
Last updated 09:43 02/01/2013
Chris Wood plays for New Zealand against Belarus at the London Olympics.
Reuters
DOUBLE ON DEBUT: Chris Wood plays for New Zealand against Belarus at the London Olympics. Wood has scored twice on his debut for new club Leicester City.

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All Whites striker Chris Wood made a dream start to his career at new club Leicester City with two goals on debut in a 6-1 thrashing of Huddersfield Town in the English football championship early today (NZ time).

The Leicester City website said Wood was playing on a short-term loan arrangement while his official NZ$3.9m (£2 million) transfer from premier league club West Bromwich Albion is completed.

The 21-year-old from Hamilton grabbed two goals in the first half before almost 26,000 Leicester fans at The King Power Stadium to take his season tally in the championship to 13 goals in 20 matches. He had earlier netted 11 times in 19 games while on loan at Millwall.

Wood was denied by a save from Huddersfield's goalkeeper Alex Smithies in the opening minutes today but he was on the scoresheet in the sixth minute when he crashed home a header after Smithies had blocked an attempt by Leicester's former England international striker David Nugent, who has scored 12 goals this season.

The Leicester website said Wood's second goal in the 24th minute was a preview of his and Nugent's potential as a pairing.

"Exchanging brilliantly on the right touchline, the pair cut Huddersfield in two as Wood's pass sent Nugent hurtling down the right. Nugent, all speed and awareness, had his head up immediately. Wood, all drive and desire, swept home the inviting centre.''

Wood's "excellent hold-up play'' was also praised in the website report, which said the Kiwi was instrumental in setting up Leicester's sixth and final goal. Substitute Martyn Waghorn volleyed home after Wood nodded down a cross by ex-England defender Paul Konchesky.

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson was rapt with Wood's debut.

"He played his part in what was a very positive team performance,'' Pearson said on the website. "His attributes fit the bill for us, he's a team player, he works exceptionally hard and I think he shows a lot of footballing intelligence too "It's pleasing for him to get off to the start that he has, but it's about the group and I thought we played very well.''

Leicester remain in fifth place in the Championship but are now just three points behind fourth-placed Middlesbrough who lost 3-1 at Derby County. The top two Championship teams are automatically promoted to the premier league with the next four teams contesting a playoff series to determine the third promotion winner.

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After 26 matches Cardiff City lead the Championship with 56 points followed by Hull City (49), Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough (both 47), Leicester (44) and Watford (40).

Leicester last played in the premier league in 2002.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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