Football – England – Championship
Friday 21st December 2012 – Kickoff: 1945hrs
Derby County, just three points adrift of the coveted sixth place play-off position, entertain play-off incumbents Hull City at Pride Park in the other Friday night fixture with the visitors also needing all three points to go joint-top with Cardiff City.
Derby County have been in pretty good form in recent weeks apart from the east midlands derby 1-4 loss at Leicester City a couple of weeks ago, they’ve lost once in their last five matches with wins over Birmingham City 3-2, Leeds United 3-1 and a 2-0 away win at struggling Bristol City. The Rams also held Championship leaders Cardiff City to a 1-1 draw at the end of November so they are no push-overs.
Derby’s home record is also a solid one which stands at 6-4-1 25/13 with their solitary loss coming against Burnley back in September. Since that surprise defeat they’ve been unbeaten at Pride Park in their last seven matches including winning four of their last five.
Theo Robinson (8 goals) and former Wigan forward Conor Sammon (5 goals) are Derby’s leading scorers along with Nathan Tyson (4 goals) and creativity being supplied by Scottish midfielder Paul Coutts (7 assists) and Craig Bryson (5 assists), they are a tough nut to crack on home turf.
But visitors Hull City are also very hard to beat both home and away as recent results will testify; just two losses in their last ten matches overall with the defeats coming away at Cardiff City 1-2 and also the same team that inflicted a surprise defeat on Derby County – Burnley! Aside from those reversals, it’s been straight wins all the way for The Tigers with notable wins over Wolves, Birmingham City, Nottingham Forest & Watford away and a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town.
Oh, I forgot they did hold Palace to a 1-1 draw as well so they are pushing hard for automatic promotion being steered by a manager that knows how to get promoted from the Championship to the Premier League – Steve Bruce.
Hull’s away record stands at 6-1-4 15/15 and despite missing striker Sone Aluko (8 goals, 3 assists), Hull City have won their last three away on the trot. Other important players include influential midfielder Robert Koren (5 goals, 3 assists), Jay Simpson (5 goals, 7 assists), Stephen Quinn (2 goals, 4 assists) and Ahmed Elmohamady (5 assists) and they possess enough options in their squad to cause Derby problems.
Both teams then have been in decent form of late and this could well end up in a stalemate, but I’ll back Hull City here with the handicap as they’ve won their last three away matches even without Aluko and the confidence is high. Could be a 1-1 draw.
Pick: Hull City AH+0.25 @ 1.70 Canbet looks tempting