Derby v Sheffield Wednesday: Owls to make their mark at Pride Park
Mark O'Haire expects upwardly-mobile Sheffield Wednesday look to consolidate their place in the Championship top-six with a strong performance at Derby on Wednesday night...
Derby v Sheffield Wednesday Wednesday December 11, 19:45 Sky Sports
Derby disappoint again
Derby's rotten road record showed no sign of abating on Saturday as the lifeless Rams were well beaten at Blackburn. Phillip Cocu's side remain winless on their travels since the opening weekend of the season with the Ewood Park reverse County's fifth on the spin away from Pride Park, prompting the Dutch coach to hold an open meeting with his squad.
Cocu felt it was important to hold a discussion in which he, the coaching staff and players were able to have their say as the Rams seek to arrest their Jekyll & Hyde displays. At Blackburn, Derby's only shot on goal arrived in the 94th minute with County's forwards struggling to make an impression in front of recent arrival Wayne Rooney on the bench.
Cocu admitted post-match, "We struggle creating, taking shots on-target. If we get shots, especially in away games, they're not on target. We had a slightly different approach. We wanted to stay in the game for as long as possible, so it was more compact." A lack of consistency in selection, system and individual form appears to be costing County dearly.
Sheffield Wednesday move into the top-six
Sheffield Wednesday moved into the Championship's play-off places for the first time this season as Steven Fletcher scored twice in four minutes to give the Owls back-to-back triumphs and a welcome 2-1 win over Brentford at Hillsborough on Saturday. Garry Monk's men now enter the midweek round of action just three points adrift of third-placed Fulham.
In a cliched game of two halves, Brentford controlled the opening 45 minutes but only had one goal to show for their dominance. The Owls responded superbly after the interval, roaring back into contention and bossing the second-half. Fletcher went close on three occasions before his double ensured top honours as he took his season tally to 10 goals.
Speaking post-match, Monk said: "The first-half wasn't acceptable and we spoke about that at half-time and then the second-half was what we expect. The attitude was completely different, we got our rewards and credit to the players for taking that on board and turning it around." The Owls are without Fernando Forestieri but Liam Palmer is available again.
Owls excel under Monk
Derby are unbeaten in their last 11 home matches against Sheffield Wednesday across all competitions (W7-D4-L1) dating back to 2006. In fact, the Rams have only suffered two defeats against the Owls in league football across their past 20 meetings (W11-D7-L2).
Derby3.20 have been beaten in five of their last nine Championship outings (W3-D1-L5) to slide into the bottom-half. Phillip Cocu's charges have been kept out of trouble due to their fine home record with the Rams delivering W5-D4-L1 at Pride Park, whilst the hosts have also pocketed W5-D3-L1 when taking on fellow bottom-half dwellers at any venue.
Sheffield Wednesday2.46 are looking to secure three consecutive league wins for the first time since September 2018. Garry Monk's appointment during September's international break prompted an upturn in results with the Owls earning W6-D5-L3 under their current head coach. However, the guests have won once in 12 at clubs in 15th or above (W1-D5-L6).
Wednesday to make their mark
Only three of the last 11 meetings between Derby and Sheffield Wednesday have broken the Over 2.5 Goals barrier and the layers aren't expecting that figure to be enhanced on Wednesday with Over 2.5 Goals available to support at 2.04.
Neither club have proven prolific in the goals-based markets this term with Pride Park fixtures featuring an average of only 2.00 goals per-game since Phillip Cocu arrived. Meanwhile, only six of Wednesday's 14 fixtures under Garry Monk's tutorship have produced three or more goals.
Nevertheless, the Owls have grabbed at least one goal themselves in all bar three of their 20 outings in 2019/20 and have the organisation and ability to earn a positive result here. With that in mind, the 1.75 available from the Same Game Multioption of Sheff Wed Double Chance, Sheff Wed to score Over 0.5 Goals and Under 4.5 Goals holds plenty of appeal.