Derby County and Hull City face-off in the second Championship play-off fixture at the iPro Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Derby Country finished the regular Championship season at fifth in the league standings, 5 points below their Saturday’s opponents Hull City. After making the strong start to the season, there were similar wobbles like in last season that cost them a play-off spot. From end of last December to February, the Rams went on a barren patch of 8 match win-less run which resulted in the sacking of head-coach Paul Clement. Then the newly appointed Darren Wassall steady the ship and guided the side to play-off spot comfortably and they remained unbeaten in 6 matches prior to the 1-0 home defeat against Ipswich on the final matchday.
From the beginning of the season, Steve McLaren’s Hull City side had set their sights on nothing less than promotion back to the Premier League since getting relegated the previous season. Like Derby, they had an awful run in March with just one win in 8 matches, other than this there were right on the money. The team is full of quality players with some premier league experience and will give a tough run to Derby on Saturday afternoon.
Derby finished the season without a win in their last three (L-D-D); before winning in all of the previous four.
Derby County’s home form in the last six is 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss; however they are without a win in their last 2 home games. Six of the last 8 home games of Derby has seen under 2.5 goals.
Hull City finished the season with 2 wins and a draw in their last 3 matches (W-L-W) and are unbeaten in 6 of their last 7. And seven of their last 9 matches in the league has seen over 2.5 goals.
Hull’s away form at the end of the season has been poor as they have lost in 4 of their last 6. The Tigers have failed to score in 4 of their last 6 away games.
Derby: Team News
The biggest blow to Derby is the absence of key midfielder George Thorne, who broke his leg in 1-0 defeat against Ipswich Town last weekend.
Craig Forsyth is a long-term absentee with an injury and will not available for both legs of the play off.
Bradley Johnson, Jeff Hendrick and Lee Grant are all back to full fitness and will be pushing for a start here.
Derby: Predicted Line-up (4-3-3)
Carson – Christie, Keogh, Shackell, Olsson – Hendrick, Bryson, Hughes – Ince, Martin, Russel.
Hull City: Team News
David Meyler is sidelined through injury, while Nick Powell is a doubt for the first leg after falling short on match fitness.
Steve Bruce is expected to field the same line-up that started in the 5-1 hammering of 5-1 of Rotherham United last weekend.
Hull City: Predicted Line-up (4-4-2)
McGregor – Odubajo, Dawson, Davies, Robertson – Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Snodgrass – Diame, Hernandez.
Derby vs Hull: Head-to-Head stats
Derby come in good spirit after winning in the last two meetings between the two sides, that too by keeping clean sheets.
The 4-0 defeat to Derby on April 5th 2016 was the heaviest defeat of Hull City in the current Championship season.
Derby had lost in 3 of the last 4 home matches against Hull City. Also the Rams have won just once in the 6 home meetings against the Tigers, with 2 draws and 3 defeats.
Hull City leads the oveall head-to-head record in 12 matches between the sides with 6 wins, 2 draws and 4 losses.
Derby vs Hull: Prediction
Hull City are certain favorites to edge at least a draw here as there is plenty of quality in the squad. It is up to them to show it in the field if they are to gain promotion back in the first season in Championship.
Derby are coming without a win in their last three matches, but having reached the play-offs, they will be in for a surprise. Anything can happen over the two legs of the tie and Derby will certainly take a lot of confidence of the two wins against Hull in the team’s last two meetings.
A narrow win for the Tigers is expected from this match, which will put them in a strong position when they play hosts in the return leg on 18th May.
My score Prediction for this match is Derby 1-2 Hull City.