Derby have had 11 days to recuperate ahead of Tuesday's trip to the New Den and they could be firing on all cylinders against a Millwall side that hasn't been short of distractions over the past 48 hours...
"The mood around the club is bound to be buoyant at present but a happy Millwall isn’t necessarily the hardest Millwall to play against. A trip to the New Den is normally one of the most feared challenges on the Championship calendar but Derby might be spared the edge that would have surrounded this fixture on a Saturday afternoon with they had everyone’s full attention."
Millwall v Derby
Championship, Tuesday 19:45
Derby should be revitalised as they return to action at the Den following an 11-day break. They were spared from FA Cup duty at the weekend, having suffered a late defeat to Manchester United in the third round, and if they approach this game sound of mind as you would expect, they could prove too strong for a Millwall side that already has plenty to shout about.
The Rams were held 0-0 by Bristol City in their last outing, a game in which they dominated throughout and were denied a clear penalty in the closing stages. But there was no real damage done, as third-placed Cardiff also dropped two points at Sheffield Wednesday the following day, maintaining a two-point cushion between second and third.
Confidence is unlikely to have suffered, either. Derby are currently on a run of just two defeats in 21 matches and they haven't been beaten on the road since mid-September, collecting 20 points from the last available 24. It's a sequence that includes victories at Norwich (2-1), Leeds (2-1), Middlesbrough (3-0), Barnsley (3-0), Ipswich (2-1) and Birmingham (3-0).
January has already been a memorable month for Millwall. An epic 4-3 away win at Leeds 10 days ago will go down in local folklore, while events on Monday might also serve as a distraction. First came news of Tim Cahill's return and that was swiftly followed by the FA Cup draw, which paired the Lions with the tantalising prospect of a fifth round date with Tottenham.
The Lions were beaten 6-0 in the quarter-finals at White Hart Lane last season and must first dispatch of League One strugglers Rochdale in a replay up north next week to secure a re-match. But they will fancy their chances after snatching a 2-2 draw with a late equaliser on Saturday, having been some way below their best for over an hour.
The mood around the club is bound to be buoyant at present but a happy Millwall isn't necessarily the hardest Millwall to play against. A trip to the New Den is normally one of the most feared challenges on the Championship calendar but Derby might be spared the usual edge that might have surrounded this fixture on a Saturday afternoon with they had everyone's full attention.
1pt Derby to beat Millwall at [2.74]
Hull v Leeds
Championship, Tuesday 19:45
Hull cruised into the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday when brushing aside a reinvigorated Nottingham Forest. The Reds had recently toppled Arsenal and Wolves in convincing fashion but were no match for the heavily-rotated Tigers and it's only added to the head-scratching around Humberside as to why they find themselves in a relegation battle.
Nigel Adkins made eight changes for the visit of Aitor Karanka's men and is now keen to view the subsequent selection dilemma as a positive. But it was a day of escapism all round at the KCom Stadium and the manner of that victory might only muddy the waters ahead of the transfer deadline and the ongoing grind of preserving their Championship status.
There's been no shortage of promise since Adkins walked through the door but Hull have crumbled when it matters, suffering limp defeats to Bolton (0-1) and Sunderland (0-1) either side of a dour goalless draw at home to Reading. Evidently, confidence is brittle and the Tigers aren't really equipped to cope with the pressure that is now enveloping them.
Indeed, arguably their most dominant display under the new regime was in the reverse fixture at Elland Road last month when Leeds took the spoils with a solitary Pablo Hernandez strike despite losing the shot count 15-5. The Whites might have been lucky that day but it's a fair assumption they will be better all round here.
Much has been made of the gruelling Championship schedule and how it might impact on the foreign legion that followed Thomas Christiansen to the club last summer, so a training camp in Murcia last week might be just what the doctor ordered, aided by the arrival of a seasoned campaigner like Adam Forshaw in the engine room.
1pt Leeds to beat Hull at [3.50]
Mike Holden Profit/Loss 2017-18
Staked: 84 pts
Returned: 46.92 pts
P/L: -37.08 pts