Prior to Leicester’s barnstorming Championship-winning 2013/14 term, when the Midlands club ran away with the second-tier title by nine points, coach Nigel Pearson’s most notable success in management came courtesy of now-famous on-loan goalkeeper Jimmy Glass.
The fifteen years since Carlisle’s great escape from non-league ignominy have rarely been kind to Pearson, who will be hoping for a more pleasing top-flight experience than during his brief one-game Premier League spell as Newcastle boss seven years ago.
Former Sheffield Wednesday centre-half stalwart Pearson was brought into the St James’ Park fold by then-Geordies chief Glenn Roeder, and was largely credited with his new club keeping four clean-sheets in the seven games immediately following his arrival.
At the death of the campaign, Pearson took charge of a Premier League match for the first and thus far only time – a 1-1 draw with Watford – after Roeder resigned and before making way for new man-in-charge Sam Allardyce.
‘Big Sam’ brought in his own team and Pearson left Tyneside shortly afterwards, ending up in the Southampton hotseat in February 2008, but was sacked after three months following a brush with relegation from the Championship.
Such coaching travails – which also included lasting just four games as West Brom caretaker in 2006 despite picking up 10 points – would see off many a lesser mortal from the managerial game.
However, an unlikely source in the shape of controversial multi-club owner Milan Mandaric offered Pearson a lifeline when handing him the Foxes gig shortly after his St Mary’s sacking.
Despite inevitable difficulties between chairman and manager, Leicester made it back into the second tier at the first time of asking by topping League One, before the Nottingham native led them to the brink of the Premier League promised land in 2009/10 when finishing fifth.
Fed up with his Foxes bosses, Pearson high-tailed it to Hull for 16 months – where he led the Tigers through a record 14-game unbeaten run on the road – but the departures of Mandaric and chief executive Lee Hoos saw him return to the King Power Stadium in November 2011.
Three seasons of trial and error – during which time Pearson only just clung on to his job – finally bore fruit last term, when Leicester’s 36-goal strike-duo David Nugent and Jamie Vardy ensured all the toil happening behind wasn’t for nought.
In midfield, former Manchester United youth Danny Drinkwater and Wales international Andy King will be expected to convert their Championship consistency into top-flight prowess, as Pearson is yet to sign a player in the centre of the park over the age of 19 this summer.
Former England international Matthew Upson, who has come in from Brighton on a free, will compete with Ritchie de Laet and captain Wes Morgan – the Jamaica international who started all bar one of his side’s 46 2013/14 league games – for a centre-half starting berth.
Marc Albrighton is an eye-catching signing from Aston Villa, and the veteran of 86 Premier League games will be tasked with launching bullets into the box for speed-freak Vardy, Nugent and £7m (yes, you read that right) capture Leonardo Ulloa, formerly of Brighton.
Pearson will need a few more bodies if Leicester are to defy straight-back-down odds of 9/4 at the end of the 50-year-old’s first full season as a Premier League manager, but after already adding top-flight experience and eager unknowables to a team that broke the Championship’s 100-points barrier last term, the gaffer can be quietly content with his summer so far.