Derby County return from the international break with three exciting Championship fixtures to look forward to.
The Rams haven’t started the season too well under new manager Phillip Cocu. The Dutchman has only guided Derby to six points from six games, despite some performances arguably warranting more.
Derby currently find themselves down in 19th position. However, with two out of the next three at home, supporters will feel the club should soon climb the table.
Cardiff City (H):
Cardiff City started the season as among the favourites for promotion. Neil Warnock is an excellent and experienced manager at Championship level with promotion experience.
The Bluebirds, however, have struggled to get going as they sit in 13th position. Cardiff and Warnock may still hold a grudge with Derby over #snowgate in 2017-18. The rearranged fixture ended up with the Rams winning 3-1
It’s a winnable game for Derby, but it still may be too soon for the Rams to click into full gear.
Prediction: Derby County 1-1 Cardiff City
Leeds United (A):
Derby have seen Leeds as big rivals since the 70s. While the feeling may not be mutual, make no mistake, the Leeds supporters will be desperate to get one over the Rams this season.
The two clubs were embroiled in the #spygate scenario last season. Leeds seemed to have Derby’s number, until that fantastic night at Elland Road in the second leg of their playoff semi-final.
Derby came from 2-0 down on aggregate to overcome the Whites 4-3, winning 4-2 at Elland Road. Marcelo Bielsa’s side, however, have reacted well this season, winning four of their opening six games.
Leeds look to have found their top form again despite losing 1-0 to Swansea City last time out. They’ve managed to retain their better players and look in good shape to claim a top two spot this season.
Prediction: Leeds United 2-0 Derby County
Birmingham City (H):
Most Derby supporters knew the first eight games of the season were tricky looking. But, Birmingham at home represents the first of a run of winnable games which could prove a turning point.
The Blues have been poor on the road, losing 3-0 at Swansea City and Nottingham Forest.
Derby, meanwhile, should have key players Jayden Bogle, Krystian Bielik and Jack Marriott up to fitness by then. Phillip Cocu may finally be able to put out his strongest team against Birmingham, and it will make a big difference.
Prediction: Derby County 2-0 Birmingham City