Derby and Hull are level on points and have identical goal difference so it would seem reasonable to expect a close, evenly contested match on Saturday.
After a superb start to the season, Derby have come unstuck in recent matches. Indeed, they have won just one of their last eight league games, losing four. However, they have only lost at home twice this season and have been prolific in front of goal, notching 14 goals. If they are to stay in touch with the top group of clubs they need to win this one and odds of 7/4 (Stan James – £150 free betting) seem reasonable.
Hull have played a game less than their hosts and so a win on Saturday would really boost their promotion hopes. They were very much a side on the up in September and October, winning six and drawing three before things took a turn for the worse in November with back-to-back defeats to Barnsley and West Ham.
Hull’s odds are 17/10 (Paddy Power – £100 free bets) and these will tempt observers of their away form. They have the fifth best record in the Championship on the road with just two defeats in eight matches.
However, the key question is how Hull will respond to losing manager Nigel Pearson just four days prior to the match. Pearson has rejoined Leicester, the club he guided to the League One title in 2008/9 before resigning in June 2010.
Hull stalwart Nick Barmby will replace Pearson as caretaker boss at the KC Stadium but with so much unrest he will have a tough job on his hands. Nigel Clough’s side will hope to take advantage and backing the home side to win to nil at 7/2 with Sky Bet may be a good shout.