Derby County host Sheffield Wednesday in midweek in what has turned out to be an important game for manager Phillip Cocu following a run of poor form.
The Rams head into the clash with Wednesday winless in their last three games.
It’s vital Derby pick up maximum points from their home games to make up for lost ground on the road. Away from Pride Park, the Rams have lost five straight games.
Here is how we believe Derby will line up against Sheffield Wednesday:
Ben Hamer is expected to keep his spot in goal ahead of Kelle Roos. Matt Clarke’s injury means Craig Forsyth will retain his place alongside Curtis Davies.
Andre Wisdom hasn’t done anything wrong. However, Derby miss Jayden Bogle’s ability to attack from right-back, and they seem too defensive without him there.
On the opposite side, £3 million 2018 signing Scott Malone should make way for Max Lowe. Lowe, a Derby academy product, has shown more there in recent weeks.
Derby have tried going with a wingback system in their last two games. It hasn’t really worked as they lose attacking impetus. Moreover, they struggle with Martyn Waghorn playing as the lone forward. Ideally, the Rams should go with two up top to force the issue.
Chris Martin and Jack Marriott have proven they are capable of working well together. Derby’s best performances this season have arguably come with those two in the XI.
Derby’s Tom Lawrence also shows more as a number 10. Add that to a lack of quality out wide, and Cocu should see a front two and narrow midfield as his best short-term option.
Wednesday are currently in the top six. It will be a tough game for Derby, but they can take confidence from their excellent home record for the visit of the Owls.