Derby v Leicester
Live on BBC 1 and Betfair Live Video
The Rams come into this game off the back of an entertaining 3-2 win over Reading and find themselves sitting seventh in the Championship. An automatic promotion place is clearly beyond them but they're well in with a shout of a top six berth come May, and a local derby against rivals Leicester will be a welcome departure from a rigorous league campaign.
Steve McClaren will be hoping Tom Ince (who scored in the win over Reading) can keep up his good goal-scoring form - the talented attacking midfielder has netted nine in his last 13 games and will relish a chance to show what he can do on the TV against the Premier League champions.
The fact that this game is at Pride Park is a much-needed boost for Derby - they've beaten Leicester in just one of their last nine meetings - and they'll know the Foxes can be got at.
Europe aside, this season hasn't gone at all to plan for Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City. They continue to toil in the league, and are in serious threat of relegation from it, despite last year's heroics. A difficult away tie against a local rival in the cup isn't really what they need either, but that's what they're faced with and what they'll have to overcome here.
The good news is that Leicester's record against Derby, as previously stated, is good. When the teams were last in the same division, the Foxes emerged victorious three times - twice in the league and once in the League Cup.
Riyad Mahrez is back from the Africa Cup of Nations but may not be fully fit to start, and Islam Slimani is struggling to shake off a groin injury.
The betting is absolutely poised ahead of this one - Derby currently trade at 2.8815/8 and Leicester are only a touch shorter at 2.767/4. I instinctively like a home win here, for a number of reasons, Leicester's poor form, Derby's confidence and home advantage being the most prominent of them. The problem is, I'd probably want a bit more juice in the price. They're playing a Premier League team that won the league last year, and regardless of their current form, they have quality.
Something about the game being under floodlights and on TV makes me think that'll play into Derby's hands, and despite the shorter-than-expected price I think I'll side with McClaren's men.
The Draw is 3.412/5.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Neither of these teams are big scorers. Derby have scored the fewest goals in the top half of the Championship despite bagging three last time out, and Ranieri's men have only netted 24 times this season in the league so far, which is remarkable given they were the third top-scorers in 2015-16. The market expects a cagey affair here - 1.784/5 is the price on Unders, with 2.186/5 available on three goals or more.
Although the Rams aren't big scorers, I can't see them not scoring on Friday night. Leicester have conceded way too many already this season and their intensity in defending all types of dangerous situations just doesn't look there. That gives me cause to look at who is most likely to score for Derby, and the aforementioned Ince is in lovely form at the moment, but I'm going to plump for Darren Bent to get on the scoresheet here.
He likes the big occasion, has been successful in the cup (Opta tell us he's scored in all four of his FA Cup appearances for Derby) and will be available at a price of about 3.259/4 on the Exchange. That's good enough for me.
Back Derby to win at 2.8815/8
Back Darren Bent to Score at 3.259/4
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