Derby v Manchester United
FA Cup Fourth Round
Live on BBC1
Monday night's 4-1 defeat at Burnley was certainly harsh on the Rams who more than matched their opponents for most of the game only to be undone by uncharacteristic errors defensively, but the bare facts are that it was a fifth game without a win - their worst run under head coach Paul Clements. They have conceded seven goals in their last two games and look to be feeling the burden of expectation having spent heavily to try and secure promotion to the top tier.
His side do have a much stronger squad that most of their Championship rivals though - former England striker Darren Bent hasn't even been on the bench for the past two games - so the short turnaround between that game and this clash shouldn't affect them. New signing Nick Blackman is available, having not played for Reading in the third-round, and the Rams' third signing of the window, left-back Markus Olsson, who joined this week from Blackburn Rovers, is also eligible but likely to be on the bench.
The circus at Old Trafford rolls on with the club denying that Louis Van Gaal offered to resign as manager after Saturday's home defeat against Southampton. His side have just two wins from their last 10 Premier League matches but conversely they have only lost one of their last six in all competitions.
The second-half performance at Anfield six days previously had suggested that a corner had been turned but the insipid attacking play returned against the Saints, much to the frustration of the home supporters. Wayne Rooney had found the net in four successive games before firing a blank on Saturday and will fancy his chances of getting on the scoresheet again here.
The visitors can be backed at even money, 2.01/1, for victory away to a Championship side which shows just how standards have slipped in recent times at Old Trafford. Derby are 4.47/2 for a famous win and the draw is available at 3.55.
If this game was being played a month ago when County were on a run of just one defeat in 19 matches that stretched back to September then I'd want them onside in some shape or form here.
But the Rams' form has dipped alarmingly since then and even a near full-house, under lights, in front of the cameras against their illustrious visitors, might not be enough to help them rediscover the form of the end of last year. Both sides have important league games next Tuesday but Clement has said he will be playing his strongest squad and we can expect the same from Van Gaal, who put out his first team against Sheffield United in the third round.
That swings the balance to the visitors for me. After all, the chance to double our money on a United win against a Championship side is not to be sniffed at I think it represents a touch of value here.
Under/Over 2.5 goals
The market has still to shape here but over at the Sportsbook under 2.5 goals can be backed at 1.68/13, unsurprisingly given the visitors' trials and tribulations in front of goal this season. Derby's last two matches have actually featured eight goals but having been so good defensively prior to that you would expect them to go back to basics here and get everyone behind the ball when their opponents are in possession to try and frustrate them.
That makes unders the most likely outcome but as it's the cup I'm going to chase a bigger return by taking a punt in the correct score market.
Although I do fancy the Premier League side to prevail here we can expect Derby to have a good go at them with the home supporters right behind Clement's outfit. We know this United side isn't full of goals but the 3-3 draw at Newcastle aside they have been solid enough at the back with David De Gea providing an exceptional last line of defence.
A single goal could be enough to see them advance to the fifth round and I'm going to make that my second recommended bet here. The market hasn't fully formed yet but we should be able to get around 7.413/2 on the 0-1 scoreline just ahead of kick-off and that's a good price about Van Gaal's men doing the bare minimum to keep him in the job for a few more days at least.
Back Manchester United to win at 2.01/1
Back 0-1 correct score at best available price