Saturday Championship Tips: Plenty of goals expected at Pride Park

Derby County boss Phillip Cocu
Phillip Cocu has struggled to shore up his defence this season
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There's another intriguing set of fixtures in the Championship on Saturday and Jack Critchley is expecting an entertaining contest between Derby and Luton...

"Graeme Jones' men are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, and their last five games have contained an eyewatering 18 goals. They've certainly given their fans value for money this year"

Derby's defence continues to leak

Derby [2.04] v Luton [3.7]; The Draw [3.55]

Derby County have been hugely unconvincing so far this season under Phillip Cocu with the former PSV boss picking up just two victories from his opening 10 games in charge. The Dutchman has seemingly got his side clicking in the final third with five goals in their last two matches, and Chris Martin has found the net in each of his last three appearances.

The Rams' issues have largely been at the back with the absence of club captain Richard Keogh hitting them hard. Curtis Davies was partnered by summer signing Krysitan Bielik in midweek, with the pair allowing low-scoring Barnsley to find the net twice inside 90 minutes. The Tykes had only scored five times prior to Wednesday's stalemate, with Daniel Stendel's men also failing to find the net on five occasions this season.

Derby's dithering defence should be good news for Luton, who will travel to Pride Park off the back of a 1-1 draw with Millwall. The Hatters left it late to thwart the Lions with a Callum McManaman equaliser helping them secure a point at Kenilworth Road. Graeme Jones' men are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, and their last five games have contained an eyewatering 18 goals. They've certainly given their fans value for money this year.

Luton have also developed a habit of scoring goals on the road and upset Blackburn at Ewood Park seven days ago. Sheffield Wednesday are the only side to have kept them off the scoresheet on their travels so far, although the visitors outshot the hosts 8-7 that day. That was also their only away game this season which featured fewer than three goals and this should be another entertaining watch for both sets of supporters.

Neither side have convinced at the back this season and it wouldn't be a surprise to see a few errors creeping in here. At the other end of the field both sides are averaging around 11 shots per game, which should be enough to produce a few goals.

Over 2.5 Goals is [1.78] on the Exchange, and that looks a decent way of approaching this game. Despite being at home, Derby cannot be trusted to win this match, therefore backing goals feels like a safer option.

Preston's Deepdale dominance to continue

Preston [1.66] v Barnsley [5.7]; The Draw [4.2]

Preston were only able to pick up a point against Middlesbrough in midweek, with the Lilywhites making it seven games unbeaten in the Championship. PNE are home specialists and Deepdale has become a fortress for them over the last six months. Alex Neil's side tend to score goals for fun in Lancashire, and they look set to fill their boots once again on Saturday afternoon.

They were only able to take a single point from their game against Bristol City last weekend, with Patrick Bauer's late header sealing a superb point for the hosts. They have now netted 13 times in their last five home matches, and the goals have come from all over the field. Although Daniel Johnson leads the way with five, Preston have seen nine different players add their name to the scoresheet in their opening ten fixtures. David Nugent impressed in midweek and was singled out for praise by his manager. The experienced striker will be keen to get his first goal for the club this weekend.

Barnsley picked up a useful point at Oakwell in midweek, with Connor Chaplin's last-gasp strike denying Derby. Stendel's men have struggled for goals this season, and they are yet to register on their travels. Although they've only conceded five times outside of South Yorkshire, they've shipped six in their last three Championship outings, and Preston will surely find a way through.

Both Johnson and Paul Gallagher will probe and create throughout the 90 minutes, and that should result in plenty of chances. Very few sides enjoy visiting Deepdale with only Leeds and Sheffield United leaving this ground with maximum points so far in 2019. Neil has put together a young side who aren't afraid to push forward, and the fans will be expecting three points from this fixture.

The hosts are odds-on for this game, although it's 10/11 on the Sportsbook for Preston to Win and Over 1.5 Match Goals. This would have landed in four of their opening five matches at Deepdale, and with Barnsley likely to create chances of their own, there could be goals at both ends.

QPR and Blackburn to entertain in West London

QPR [2.28] v Blackburn[3.2]; The Draw [3.6]

QPR's good start to the campaign is in danger of unravelling with Mark Warburton's side suffering back-to-back defeats without finding the net. The R's are a young side, who are far from the finished product, and there are always likely to be peaks and troughs as a result. However, this looks like the ideal opportunity to restore some confidence.

The West Londoners rattled the woodwork twice during their 3-0 defeat to Cardiff on Wednesday night, and they also fired in 11 shots across the 90 minutes. They failed to create a meaningful opportunity against West Brom four days earlier, so fans will be delighted to see their side offering more in the final third.

Despite their mini-blip, QPR have scored eight of their 14 goals at home this season, and only West Brom have kept them off the score-sheet so far. The likes of Ilias Chair and Eberechi Eze are always going to create chances and the team average 14.3 shots per game - the fourth highest in the division.

Blackburn are also winless in their last two games although Rovers did pick up a decent point against Nottingham Forest in midweek. On the road, Tony Mowbray's side have been pretty efficient, winning two of their four matches away from Ewood Park. The Lancastrians have also netted in each of their last three games on the road, and they should be able to find a way through here as well. They've scored eight goals in their last five matches and will fancy their chances against a side that are yet to register a clean sheet this campaign.

Adam Armstrong was back amongst the goals in midweek, and the visitors have plenty of players who are capable in the final third. Fans will be hoping for more from Sam Gallagher, who is yet to score in 713 minutes of Championship football.

Both fixtures between these two teams last season ended 2-1 and a similar outcome is likely on Saturday. The goals could flow in West London and it's 19/20 on the Sportsbook for Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 Goals. It is available using the Same Game Multi, and it looks a decent way of approaching this contest.

You can follow Jack Critchley on Twitter @jcritch7

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