Derby v Hull
Friday 8th September, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports
Derby looking to kick-on
Performance data suggests Derby were unfortunate to lose 3-1 at Sheffield United in their last outing before the international break. But a goalkeeping error and own goal saw the Rams trail by two goals and the stats were clouded by a strong second-half display as Gary Rowett's charges chased the game.
County have W2-D1-L2 to start their campaign whilst playing three of the current top seven sides in the division, as well as relegated Sunderland. It's been a tough introduction to 2017/18 but Derby bolstered their ranks on deadline day with a few intriguing additions.
Maikel Kieftenbeld could slot straight into central midfield following his arrival from Birmingham with Sam Winnall likely to start on the bench after signing on-loan from Sheffield Wednesday. Elsewhere, Tom Lawrence is chasing a first start for the Rams.
Hull's squad overhaul
Like their hosts, Hull have W2-D1-L2 in their first five matches. The Tigers shredded newly-promoted Bolton 4-0 in their most recent encounter but eight of their 12 goals recorded under Leonid Slutsky have come in games against the Trotters and League One strugglers Bury.
Indeed, City's two defeats came in fixtures against the only current top-10 teams they've faced - QPR and Wolves - and a hectic transfer window has seen the likes of Sam Clucas, Andrew Robertson and Josh Tymon, plus key striker Abel Hernandez suffer a potentially season-ending injury.
Nevertheless, Hull kept hold of Kamil Grosicki and worked hard to bring in Stephen Kingsley, Jon Toral, Jackson Irvine, Nouha Dicko and Fikayo Tomori as they look to fill out a threadbare squad. All are in contention for starts here.
Rams can justify favouritism
Derby [2.04 ] tend to be solid operators on their own patch. The Rams boast a W12-D6-L2 record in their last 20 Pride Park outings, recording 11 clean sheets along the way; indeed, eight of those victories arrived alongside a shutout with five finishing in a positive 1-0 correct score.
County have also been a profitable club to follow when hosting recently relegated outfits. The hosts have W4-D4-L1 since 2014/15 in such situations, silencing their opposition in five of the last six encounters in the same sample.
Hull 4.10 haven't won an away league game since their opening such fixture last season (2-0 at Swansea), with their winless run currently standing at 20 games (W0-D4-L16). The Tigers performed admirably at Aston Villa (1-1) and competed well at QPR (1-2) but it may take time to bed-in their new-look squad.
City's road record was their major undoing during their ill-fated 2016/17 in the Premier League and I'm happy to back Derby exploiting such weakness here at odds-against quotes.
Goals expectancy low at Pride Park
Goals have been few and far between at Pride Park in recent seasons. A healthy 16/25 (64%) of Derby dates here since the start of last season have featured fewer than three goals, including both of their home games this term, so backing a repeat at 1.85 appeals.
Digging deeper, five of the last six contests at home to relegated sides since 2014/15 have produced Under 2.5 Goals winners with Under 1.5 Goals even proving profitable on four occasions. So keeping a low-scoring clash onside appears the best avenue of attack.
Back Derby to beat Hull @ 2.04
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.85
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