Derby fans are still catching their breath following their dramatic 4-3 victory at Norwich on Saturday, and it could well prove to be a turning point in their Championship season if they can build on it with a victory over Middlesbrough at Pride Park.
The Rams were on the brink of a fourth game without a win before the Carrow Road comeback, and Boro’s 2-0 win over Ipswich on Saturday was their first home victory since the start of November.
On the road, Tony Pulis’ side have been similarly patchy. Just two wins in five for the Teesiders, coupled with their poor home form, has seen them drop to fifth in the Championship table, and an away trip to Pride Park is certainly a tricky assignment for the first game of 2019.
Boro have by far the tightest defence in the Championship, conceding just 17 goals in their 25 games, but can they keep out a rampant Derby side that will be on an all-time high following their victory at Norwich? I can’t see it myself, but with Frank Lampard’s side continuing to leak goals, it’s no surprise that I’m backing Both Teams to Score at 4/5 with William Hill.
One thing Middlesbrough will be hoping to bank on is an excellent record against their New Years Day opponents. Boro have lost just once in their last eight meetings with Derby, and have won on two of their last three visits. Their defensive record shows that they’re the toughest team to break down in the Championship, and if you fancy them to hold firm again, then get on them to either win or draw at 4/7 in Betfair’s Double Chance market.
Mason Mount broke his goal-scoring duck for the Rams in the Norwich victory, with the Chelsea loanee notching his first strike since September at Carrow Road. Don’t be surprised to see that spark a run of scoring form for the 19-year-old, who was called up to the England squad back in October. Mount is 7/2 with Unibet to find the net anytime.
Middlesbrough will look to keep this one tight, and I can’t see this one being a runaway victory for either side. In a match that’s almost too close to call, get on Betway’s 13/10 for it to be settled by a one-goal winning margin for either side.
Championship Treble: £10 on Aston Villa (to beat QPR), Hull City (Bolton Wanderers) and Ipswich (Millwall) returns £90 with William Hill.
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