Derby must belie woeful Wolves record to go top of Championship
Derby County, even-money Championship promotion favourites with Coral, have won just one of their last 15 meetings with resurgent Wolverhampton Wanderers (4/1 to go up), so history hardly justifies the odds-on 10/11 price Steve McClaren’s men have for victory.
Wolves, 11/4 chances to beat their Midlands rivals the Rams at Pride Park, have defeated their hosts on seven occasions since November 1994, with as many encounters drawn (a tempting 13/5 shout), including both fixtures the season before last.
McClaren has spent the build up to this encounter praising Derby chief executive Sam Rush, following him scooping the title of CEO of the Year at the Football Business Awards.
Of Rush, the County boss said: “He glues everybody together; the head coach, the players, the staff on the football side – together with the commercial side, the administration, and the fans and supporters’ clubs.
“He has to deal with owners, crazy managers, fans – and that is hard. There is a lot pressure but he does the job very well. You suggest things and off he goes and he gets the job done – that’s the biggest thing, he gets the job done.”
The Rams almost got into the Premier League last term, with only Bobby Zamora’s play-off final winner denying them and sending QPR up in their stead. Scotland striker Chris Martin hit 25 goals in all competitions in Derby’s so-nearly season, and has continued his fine form into this campaign.
Martin has struck seven times in his last eight league outings, and in double figures already. Back him at even-money in the anytime market or a better 4/1 to score first against Wolves. Fellow County forward Johnny Russell, meanwhile, has two in his last three from a wide berth and is a 2/1 chance to net in this mach.
Jamaica attacker Simon Dawkins has made a real impact late on in recent Rams outings, with three in as many appearances. Two of those have been the last goal, so he’s a worthy 7/1 shot to round off the scoring again.
Wanderers, meanwhile, will be without box-to-box midfielder David Edwards, who has damaged medial ligaments. That leaves the spot off the front open for Kenny Jackett to fill unless he changes shape. Leon Clarke did not convince as a number 10 in a recent televised derby with Birmingham City, so Bakary Sako may be moved infield with Michael Jacobs taking over on the wing.
Mali international Sako was in fantastic form prior to injury, so he can rediscover that against a County defence that have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of the last four. Back Sako at 7/4 to score anytime.
Fellow winger James Henry has two in his last three and, despite that decent return, is a temptingly long 11/2 to net again here. Journeyman striker Leon Clarke should lead the Wolves attack in the absence of Nouha Dicko, and is a 2/1 chance in the anytime market.
This is one of a number of tough matches to call in the Championship promotion race, but a score draw of 1-1 will reward punters with attractive odds of 11/2.