Despite suffering a narrow defeat at Ashton Gate in midweek, Jack Critchley believes that Derby County can bounce back this weekend and collect three points against Huddersfield...
"Derby have picked up 13 points from a possible 21 since Wayne Rooney made his debut for the club and the former England striker has been hugely influential so far. They've yet to drop a point at Pride Park since he stepped onto the pitch and he's also helped bring out the best in players such as Duane Holmes and Tom Lawrence"
Rams to make it five home wins in a row
Derby 2.111/10 v Huddersfield 3.7511/4; The Draw 3.412/5
Despite slipping up against Bristol City on Wednesday night, the majority of Derby fans left the game feeling relatively positive. The Rams still look a little short at the back and the Robins truly exploited their aerial vulnerabilities at Ashton Gate. However, at the other end of the pitch, Phillip Cocu's men look extremely dangerous going forward and they could easily have taken something from the game.
Some supporters have criticised the Dutchman for failing to introduce Jack Marriott until the 89th minute. The visitors were on top throughout the second half and had seven of their 11 shots during this spell. They also managed three efforts on target after the break and the introduction of the former Peterborough man may just have given them a little more cutting edge in the final third.
Derby have picked up 13 points from a possible 21 since Wayne Rooney made his debut for the club and the former England striker has been hugely influential so far. They've yet to drop a point at Pride Park since he stepped onto the pitch and he's also helped bring out the best in players such as Duane Holmes and Tom Lawrence. His arrival has taken the pressure off the latter, with the Welshman allowed to roam more freely as a result.
With nine goals in their last four matches at this stadium, the fans have certainly enjoyed watching the Rams in recent weeks and they'll be feeling confident about their chances of collecting another three points on Saturday afternoon.
They've managed to keep a clean sheet in six of their last ten matches here, with Birmingham being the last side to breach the hosts on more than one occasion back in late September.
Huddersfield haven't enjoyed their recent visits to this stadium and and they've failed to pick up maximum points in any of their last 23 matches at Pride Park. The Terriers are a little unpredictable and inconsistent under Danny Cowley and are coming off the back of a heavy midweek defeat at home to Cardiff.
The West Yorkshire side have been victorious on just four occasions away from home this season although each of their last three defeats have been by just a single goal. Keeping clean sheets has been an issue on their travels with just three shutouts so far and they shipped three first half goals at Craven Cottage a fortnight ago.
They did manage to outshoot the Bluebirds on Wednesday night, yet were far from clinical and they must improve their productivity in the final third this weekend. The visitors are probably safe from relegation this season, but they can't afford to take their foot off the gas just yet.
Derby's last four home victories have come against Stoke, Hull, Charlton and Barnsley. The quartet are all bottom half dwellers and sit alongside Huddersfield in the Championship table. In the nine games against sides below them, Cocu's men have dropped just a single point so far and at 2.111/10 on the Exchange, they are worth backing to deliver on home soil once again.
Both teams to find the net at the Valley
Charlton 3.052/1 v Blackburn 2.466/4; The Draw 3.259/4
Charlton gave their survival hopes a significant boost with an unexpected win at the City Ground in midweek. Lyle Taylor's solitary goal was enough to give the Addicks all three points and they'll be feeling confident ahead of this weekend clash with Blackburn Rovers.
Lee Bowyer's side have given themselves a six-point buffer and if they do manage to beat the drop, it'll be largely thanks to their much-improved home form. In South London, they are unbeaten in each of their last five games and have also netted nine times during that period.
They will be boosted by the return of Macauley Bonne, who was back among the subs in midweek, and the former Leyton Orient striker could link up with the aforementioned Taylor on Saturday afternoon. The pair are responsible for 17 of Charlton's 41 goals this campaign and should give the Blackburn defence plenty to think about. Jonny Williams was rested against Nottingham Forest, and the Welshman could also be drafted back into the starting XI.
Defensively, they've looked a little suspect this year, however a much-needed clean sheet on Tuesday gives them something to build upon. They've managed just four shutouts at the Valley so far, and only one side have drawn a blank here since mid-October.
Blackburn barely got out of first gear on Tuesday night sweeping aside a lacklustre Hull at Ewood Park. They outshot the Tigers 27-10 and managed 11 shots on target across the 90 minutes. Rovers are likely to face a much tougher assignment this time around, although their away form has been fairly respectable under Tony Mowbray.
The visitors have won three of their last seven games on the road and haven't failed to register since October 22. They recently stuck five past Sheffield Wednesday, scored twice at the City Ground, and have edged out both Stoke and Bristol City.
Although the loss of Bradley Dack was fairly sizeable, they've managed to recover sufficiently and the form of Adam Armstrong has helped soften the blow in recent weeks. He has three goals and four assists in 2020, more than any other player in the Championship, and averages two shots per game. He is likely to be heavily involved once again and should be able to find a way past Jason Pearce and Tom Lockyer.
The Addicks were surprise 2-1 winners in Lancashire on the opening weekend of the season, and another entertaining 90 minutes surely awaits. Both sides have individual talent in the ranks, although neither team can claim to be foot-perfect at the back. They may have both kept clean sheets in midweek, however, at 1.865/6 on the Exchange, backing both teams to score seems like the best option this time around.
Boro to deny the Hatters back-to-back victories
Middlesbrough 1.625/8 v Luton 65/1; The Draw 4.216/5
Middlesbrough cannot count themselves out of the relegation battle just yet, however, the Teessiders have shown more than enough in recent weeks to suggest that they can beat the drop this time around. Jonathan Woodgate's first season in charge has yielded mixed results, although the club looks in a far healthier position financially than this time last year.
The North Easterners have been helped by their academy, which has the knack of churning out talented players on a regular basis, and midfielder Lewis Wing is just one of many youngsters who have made the transition to senior football in the last couple of years. The 24-year old scored both goals in midweek, and although he is often accused of shooting on sight, fans are starting to see the fruits of his labour. He's netted six times this campaign and is the club's joint second highest goalscorer behind Ashley Fletcher.
Woodgate's men may not have been victorious since New Year's Day, however, they've looked fairly effective going forward and if it wasn't for some bad luck and questionable defending, they'd surely have a few more points on the board in 2020. They've scored eight times in their last six matches and will surely find a way to exploit the Hatters back-line.
Luton picked up a much needed three points in midweek and remarkably, they also kept a clean sheet. It was just their second shutout of the campaign, and something for Graeme Jones to use as a springboard going forward. It still looks a difficult task for them to remain in the second tier and they simply must tighten up on the road if they have any hopes of avoiding the drop.
They've conceded at least two goals in each of their last 11 away trips and are yet to keep a clean sheet in 16 attempts. On their travels, they've been far too open and this young Middlesbrough side will be looking to take full advantage.
The hosts are far too short, so backing a Middlesbrough win and over 1.5 match goals could be the best way to go. It's 5/6 on the Sportsbook and has already landed in 13 of Luton's 16 away games.
You can follow Jack Critchley on Twitter @jcritch7
Derby vs Huddersfield - Derby Win @ 2.1011/10 (Exchange)
Charlton vs Blackburn - Both Teams to Score @ 1.865/6 (Exchange)
Middlesbrough vs Luton - Middlesbrough Win and Over 1.5 Goals @ 5/6 (Sportsbook)