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Friday, June 26, 2020

Saturday Championship Tips: Rams to dispatch the Royals at Pride Park

Saturday Championship Tips: Rams to dispatch the Royals at Pride Park

Derby County are one of the Championship's form sides and Jack Critchley believes that the Rams can continue their upward trajectory when they host Reading on Saturday afternoon...

Derby to record back-to-back Championship victories

Derby 2.18 v Reading 3.70; The Draw 3.50
Saturday, 13:00
Despite spending the majority of the campaign rooted in mid-table, Derby County still have an outside chance of reaching the play-offs. Although their fixture list is far from straightforward, with games against Leeds, West Brom, Brentford and Nottingham Forest on the horizon, some supporters remain quietly optimistic about their chances of gatecrashing the top six this season.
Despite the extended break, Derby's recent form is fantastic, and they've managed to take 10 points from their last five matches. They've scored 11 times in the process, with only high-flying Brentford proving more prolific during this period. Last season, Derby's form was up and down throughout the entire campaign, whereas this time around, they've undoubtedly found their form since the turn of the year. Only Wigan can match their record of 24 points from 13 games so far in 2020, and Phillip Cocu's men will be feeling confident coming into this fixture.
Although they are yet to keep a clean sheet on the road this year, they are far more secure at Pride Park and haven't conceded more than one goal in a home match since September 28th. During that period, only Millwall have left the East Midlands with maximum points, with 50% of those visiting sides also failing to find the back of the net. Although circumstances are different this time around, they should still be able to continue their fine form at this venue.
Reading are 14th and have very little left to play for this campaign. Mark Bowen has successfully managed to steer them clear of danger, and although the Welshman is not universally loved by all Royals supporters, he deserves enormous credit for making his side much tougher to beat. Despite this, they've picked up just three victories since New Year's Day and they could be in for a difficult afternoon at Pride Park.
Bowen expressed his frustration at his team's poor decision making following their 1-1 draw with Stoke at the Madejski Stadium last weekend, although they did create plenty of chances throughout the 90 minutes. They will be without Lucas Joao on Saturday, with the former Sheffield Wednesday man failing to recover from the injury he picked up seven days ago.
The Royals have been a bit of bogey team for Derby in recent seasons, however, they could struggle this time around. With Wayne Rooney dictating play and young Louie Sibley oozing with confidence, the Rams should be able to collect all three points. The hosts are 2.18 on the Exchange, and look very backable on Saturday lunchtime.

Swans to come out on top against shot-shy Hatters

Swansea 1.74 v Luton 4.90; The Draw 3.80
Saturday, 12:30
Swansea are another side who have their eyes on the coveted final play-off spot, and following last week's comfortable victory at the Riverside Stadium, they now sit just a single point behind Preston. Steve Cooper's men couldn't have asked for an easier reintroduction to Championship life as they cruised to victory in Teesside. Admittedly, they didn't have to get out of second gear at any point, and had the match sewn up by the break.
The Welsh side have used the loan market effectively this season, and the temporary acquisitions of Conor Gallagher and Rhian Brewster have certainly helped to keep them competitive in the top half. They've lost just three times since Boxing Day as well as just one of their last seven, and will fancy their chances of collecting three points on Saturday lunchtime.
The hosts will also be buoyed by the news that Kyle Naughton, Mike Van Der Hoorn, Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge have extended their contracts with the club to allow them to play until the end of July.