Steve McLaren's first game back at the iPro might not go according to plan.
Derby v Leeds - Saturday 15:00
Steve McClaren made a shock return to Derby this week and though he wasn’t exactly welcomed back with open arms by all of the iPro faithful, the news should be enough to distract the Rams from their recent problems on home soil and start this game positively. Whether they can maintain any improvement over 90 minutes is another matter.
With only one goal scored and two points collected in five home matches, an early strike might be essential but Leeds have been doing the basics extremely well in recent weeks, reaching the interval unbreached in each of their last seven matches, and scoring the opening goal in five of them, then going on to close out the victory in each instance.
For this, Garry Monk deserves immense credit. Barely a month ago he was under big pressure but carried all of it on his own shoulders and his players appear to have emerged stronger for it. Given the emphasis Monk places on the quality of his training sessions, there’s no reason why the break should disrupt their rhythm and the 4/1 about the away win looks like decent value.
If Leeds follow their usual blueprint and keep chances to a minimum in the opening 45, then McClaren could get an early sighter of his biggest initial challenge - rebuilding the team’s mental strength. Take the 9/1 available on the Draw/Leeds half time/full time bet. The 0-1 correct score - at 11/1 - is also worth an interest.