Leeds look to regain their Championship dominance after recent hiccup.
With so many sides ferociously competing for promotion in the Championship, we will be treated to a number of cracking six-pointers over the next few months – starting with Leeds welcoming Derby to Elland Road.
Leeds come into this on the back of two consecutive defeats against Hull and Nottingham Forest, while Derby have just one win in their last five. The Rams have been fairly inconsistent all season (failing to string together a truly meaningful run of victories), but it looks like the pile-up of injuries to key players is starting to take its toll on Leeds.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have enjoyed some incredible last-gasp victories in recent weeks, although their recent misfortunes have seen them crash back down to earth a little; predicting how they’ll perform against an enigmatic Derby outfit is pretty tough.
The Rams have come through a tricky set of fixtures against promotion rivals Sheffield United, Norwich and Middlesbrough (two of which being away from home) with a respectable four-point haul. They will certainly fancy their chances against Leeds – particularly after beating Norwich at Carrow Road in a 4-3 thriller – although the number of perceived lost causes the hosts have recently rescued shows they have plenty of resilience as well as quality.
This one is looking tough to call, but a draw at 3/1 looks the best bet for Friday.
Both teams to score is my banker for this match.
The Rams have only failed to score in two away matches this season, while Leeds have also scored in all-but-two at Elland Road.
Derby games are generally more open than most – primarily due to the youthful exuberance Frank Lampard has breathed into the side – which generally makes for a good spectacle.
BTTS looks a massive likelihood.
It may have taken him 12 matches to get off the mark in the Championship, but Derby striker Jack Marriott is now proving why there was such a buzz about him when signing for the Rams.
The former Peterborough man now has seven goals in his last 15 appearances – five of which coming away from home. He also scored against Southampton in the FA Cup on Saturday, so expect confidence to be sky-high.
Marriott to score at any time is my final tip for Friday night’s clash.