Strikes for Lloyd Dyer and Ben Marshall before the break, coupled with goals for debutants Matty James and Jamie Vardy after it saw Nigel Pearson’s men safely into the second round of the competition and whetted the appetite for Saturday’s npower Championship opener against Peterborough United at King Power Stadium.
In couldn’t have been much more comfortable for the Foxes, who had far too much quality for their League 2 opponents on a night that will have filled the 1,166 travelling members of the Blue Army with optimism for the campaign ahead.
Their team will certainly face bigger tests over the next nine months, but if they approach them with the same energy and professionalism they showed here, they will give themselves every chance of mounting a strong promotion challenge.
A League Cup tie before the start of the league season can be viewed in one of two ways: an unwelcome distraction; or a decent chance to build momentum heading into the big kick-off.
Pearson’s team selection indicated his thoughts. Fielding the same eleven that started the final pre-season game against Sunderland, his players began bags of energy.
Shaking off the knock that saw him withdrawn at the weekend, Vardy was full of running, evading two challenges on halfway after 10 minutes to raid into Gulls territory before his pass was fired over by Marshall.
Torquay pressed willingly and with some success – debutant Ritchie De Laet and skipper Wes Morgan culpable for defensive lapses in the early exchanges. James was robbed on halfway on 14 minutes, allowing Rene Howe to set up Ian Morris down the Gulls left, but Morgan recovered brilliantly to block.
But that was about as troubling as it got for Pearson’s men, who steadily took control of the game. Jermaine Beckford headed a difficult chance over from Dyer’s cross and, three minutes later, the visitors were in front.
Morgan clipped a ball out towards the left from the middle of the park, Gulls full-back Joe Oastler crumbled with Dyer breathing down his neck and the City winger flipped the ball inside him before rounding Michael Poke to score.
It was the break-through City needed and they never looked likely to relinquish control from that point. James and Danny Drinkwater busied themselves in midfield. Vardy and Beckford worked hard to combine in attack. Dyer and Marshall terrorised down the flanks.
A second goal arrived 10 minutes before the break from the gifted right foot of Marshall. The former Stoke winger doesn’t tend to scramble them home and he continued in that vein here. After James was tripped on the edge of the box, Marshall produced whip and pace from 22 yards to beat the wall and find the top corner majestically.
That gave City a stranglehold on proceedings by half-time, but they were far from finished there. There was momentum to build.
Beckford fed the breaking James five minutes into the second half and James foraged a debut goal, beating a man on the edge of the box before poking past Poke.
The Foxes threatened to run riot as Beckford worried Poke from Dyer’s through-ball and Drinkwater forced an awkward save with a low drive.
But the fourth goal would be a reward for the tireless running of Vardy. The striker’s latest burst forward was spotted by the wand-like foot of Marshall, whose diagonal cross provided the summer signing from Fleetwood with a simple header past the onrushing Poke.
It could have got worse for the hosts, with De Laet and Beckford both shooting narrowly wide from tight angles, either side of an effort from Vardy that was chalked off for offside.
But four was sufficiently indicative of City’s dominance of proceedings. Saturday’s visit of the Posh cannot come quickly enough.
Torquay United (4-3-3): Poke; Oastler, Saah, Downes, Nicholson; Easton (Thompson 64), Lathrope, Mansell (c); Jarvis (Yeoman 77), Howe, Morris.
Unused subs: Leadbitter, Rice, Craig, Cruise, Yeoman, MacKenzie.
City (4-4-2): Schmeichel; De Laet, Morgan (c), Moore, Konchesky; Marshall, James (King 73), Drinkwater (Danns 78), Dyer (Nugent 66); Beckford, Vardy.
Unused subs: Logan, Waghorn, Gallagher, Schlupp.
Goals: Dyer 21, Marshall 35, James 50, Vardy 77
Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)
Attendance: 3,367 (1,166 away)