Fleetwood Town defender Eastham says pressure is all on Leicester City ahead of League Cup tie
Ash Eastham is hoping Fleetwood Town can rewrite history and finally pull off that giantkilling by defeating Premier League Leicester.
Last term his namesake Hunter was a whisker away from guiding Town to a historic victory over the Foxes in their first ever competitive clash with a top tier side.
That FA Cup third-round game ended with a 0-0 draw at Highbury and Town went on to lose the replay 2-0.
That cup clash is not a fond memory for defender Eastham, 27, who hobbled off after 15 minutes at Highbury, missing the return trip to the King Power Stadium.
Now the Town man, who has three clean sheets from his four league appearances this term, is hoping Town can go one better and win their first ever competitive match against a Premier League side and progress to the third round of the League Cup for the first time tonight.
Eastham said: “We are excited. We played Leicester last season and ran them close. We nearly beat them at home in the FA Cup.
“We go there with no pressure on us. They are the home team, a Premier League side, and we go there to enjoy it, believing we can get something from the game.”
Fleetwood will not face a reunion with former striker Jamie Vardy. The forward fired Town to the Football League and then joined the Foxes in the summer of 2012.
A Premier League winner’s medal and 26 England caps later, the forward has just penned a new deal at Leicester.
That is not good news for Town as it means a hefty windfall from any sell-on clause is unlikely to be activated any time soon.
The forward is suspended tonight, so chairman Andy Pilley will be able to remind the striker how much a move would have meant to the club financially.
And Eastham hopes the Foxes will put a full-strength team out on Tuesday.
He said: “I would not fancy chasing Vardy down the channel but I hope they put a full-strength team out.
“We want to test ourselves against the best in England.
“We aren’t sure yet what our manager or Leicester will do but we look forward to it, playing in a big stadium and causing an upset.”
That first cup game was one of the only highlights of a miserable January last term – that defeat at the King Power was the start of the losing spree that would see Uwe Rosler depart in February, with Town deep in a relegation battle.
John Sheridan guided Town to safety, with Joey Barton taking the reins this summer.
And Eastham says the mood around the club has changed considerably since the last time they faced the Foxes.
He said: “I feel there is a real buzz about Fleetwood, the new manager, the staff, the players we have brought in.
“I think it is the first time since I have been here that we really have a strong 22-man squad.
“That is exciting for the rest of the season because the manager has selection problems every week.
“We drive each other on and the training has been top notch.
“We have a philosophy that if you train hard you will play even better.
“We are not prepared to train light and turn up on a Saturday and perform. It does not work like that and we are reaping the rewards from that hard work.”