Burton’s Billy Kee returns to Leicester with no grudges but with a huge desire for a Capital One Cup win
Two years after being released by Leicester City, his first club and the team he supported as a boy, Burton Albion striker Billy Kee will step out at the King Power Stadium for Tuesday evening’s Capital One Cup tie aiming to spearhead a shock win but bearing no grudges against either the Foxes or manager Nigel Pearson.
Since Pearson released Loughborough-born Kee, the now 21-year-old striker’s career has flourished lower down The Football League ladder, first with Torquay United and since the start of last season with Torquay’s npower League 2 rivals Burton, his goals earning him a regular spot in the Northern Ireland Under-21 squad.
He never made a senior appearance for Leicester, so the Capital One Cup second round clash will give him the chance to show manager Pearson and the Foxes fans what they are missing – but that is not the attitude that Kee will take into what will be his first competitive game against the Championship club where he started his career.
He said: “I realised I was never going to be part of Nigel Pearson’s plans, so his decision was one that I just had to accept. It was disappointing, but football’s a harsh game and I had to go out to establish my career elsewhere. It’s what happens, and I won’t be going there thinking I’ve got to try and prove a point.
“Leicester City is a great club with a great Academy, so it’s good for any young player to come through the system there. It certainly helped me develop as a player and put me on the road to the Northern Ireland international set-up, so I’m grateful for all that – but I’d still love to help knock them out of the Capital One Cup.”
Kee has already helped Burton knock League 1 promotion favourites Sheffield United out of the competition, the Brewers winning on penalties after an extra time stalemate at Bramall Lane in what was the young striker’s first competitive game back in action following a January injury that ended a phenomenal run of 12 goals in 14 games.
He has been in the Brewers starting line-up for each of their games to date, the last of them a 1-0 defeat by Football League newcomers Fleetwood Town on Saturday, having previously taken the first steps back towards a full recovery from his injury in a pre-season friendly at the Pirelli Stadium against, ironically enough, Leicester.
“I was terrible in our pre-season game against Leicester,” he reckoned, “so I’ll obviously be aiming to do a lot better at their place on Tuesday night. That friendly was my first game back after a long injury lay-off though, and I feel now that I’m back to full fitness levels and really getting into my stride.
“We started the season with a great result at Sheffield United and we’ve also beaten AFC Wimbledon 6-2 in the League, but after losing on Saturday we need to bounce back quickly. This Cup tie is the perfect opportunity to do that. We’ll be the underdogs of course, but we’ll go there believing we can win – and I’ll be delighted if we do it.”