Leicester City v Leeds United: I will play it cool - Gradel

Max Gradel insists revenge is the last thing on his mind ahead of his first return to the Walkers Stadium to face old club Leicester City on Boxing Day.

The flying winger, who bagged his first double in Leeds colours in the thrilling 2-0 victory over Championship leaders QPR on Saturday, arrived at Elland Road in October 2009 after falling out of favour in the east midlands but the Foxes' loss has unquestionably proved United's gain.

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Gradel admits to having had differences of opinion with certain individuals during the latter stages of his time at City, which saw him drop down the pecking order after playing 32 times during the club's League One title procession in 2008-09.

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The Leicester youth academy product joined United permanently in January – shortly after slapping in a transfer request after a successful three-month emergency loan spell in West Yorkshire – but he says he doesn't feel as though he has a point to prove on his Foxes return.

And he's adamant he'll keep his discipline in check.

Gradel, 23, said: "I'm just going to take it as a normal game. I'm not even worried about any revenge or anything like that.

"I'm just worried about my team at the moment I'm playing for. I just intend to keep my head and keep playing.

"It's (Leicester) a great club and I had a great time. It didn't work out with the (former) manager and some people, but that's nothing to do with the club and the fans. I've no problem with them.

"They are a very good side. I wish them the best, but I'm just focusing on my team. As a footballer, you want to be involved in games like this."

The United crowd favourite feels he is still paying back Leeds supporters after his brainstorm in the final game of last season at home to Bristol Rovers in front of over 38,000 at Elland Road when his 34th-minute dismissal for violent conduct put United's League One automatic promotion hopes on a perilous knife-edge.

After serving a four-match suspension at the start of this term, Gradel has been making up for lost time getting back in the supporters' good books.

And his current tally of six goals is just four away from equalling his best-ever seasonal tally, with just over half of the campaign to go.

The Ivorian midfielder said: "I'm very happy to pay something back to the fans and the manager in terms of the faith they have given me, obviously after the hard time I had against Bristol Rovers.

"I'm happy they kept believing in me.

"It was definitely one of the best days (against QPR) and everyone was happy with the way we were passing the ball.

"We're really working hard and enjoying our football.

"Second place is a nice position to be in, but we don't want to look at the league table, really. It's too early, though we do look!

"I think we can handle the pressure.

"People are talking about the Premier League already, but I think it's a bit too early.

"We just need to keep working hard and we'll see where we are at the

end of the season."

Around four inches of snow fell in the east midlands early yesterday, but Leicester – with a proud record of games beating the weather at the Walkers Stadium – are confident Sunday's game will take place, with a slight thaw predicted and the pitch protected by undersoil heating.

City boss Sven Goran Eriksson does have a few injury headaches, with Portuguese defender Miguel Vitor (hamstring) definitely missing.

Loan striker Roman Bednar (foot) is a doubt, but City are hopeful defender Curtis Davies (groin) and forward Paul Gallagher (hamstring) will be fit.

City's on-loan ex-England keeper Chris Kirkland has been in training this week after shrugging off a groin niggle picked up late on in the controversial snow-hit 3-0 loss at Ipswich Town last weekend.

NICE TO MEET YOU: Kalvin Phillips and Luke Ayling meet the Leeds fans on tour in Scwaz. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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