Derby County and Fulham are separated by 12 points when they lock horns at Pride Park Friday evening. It is still not too late for the home side to make a run for the play off’s and a win against Fulham would be vital. Derby dropped five points in their last two outings being let down once again by an all too generous defence.
That is nothing though compared to the shock treatment Barnsley handed out to Fulham last weekend. Rarely has Fulham been such big favourites in a home match this season, but Barnsley taught them a lesson in coming away from Craven Cottage 3-0 winners. A massive off day for a defence that until recently looked promotion materiel.
The defence could also be Derby’s undoing this season. Derby has conceded in each of their last four matches with only one clean sheet in six. It doesn’t paint a very good picture of their defence. They have conceded two or more goals in four of their last six matches. They have still been very solid with only one loss in the last 16 matches at Pride Park. In 17 league matches at home, they have failed to score in just two. Derby has lost twice in a row to Fulham, but both in London and the Cottagers have won just once in seven visits to The Rams.
Fulham will want to very quickly forget about their last match. While the loss to Manchester City in the FA Cup was expected, conceding five goals against two teams among the bottom five in the Championship really brings to focus the defensive discipline. In their last 11 matches, Fulham managed to score more than a goal on just two occasions. Their last eight away matches produced just two winners and only once that run, did they score more than one goal.
Both Fulham and Derby are seeking to bounce back after less than successful outings lately. Fulham is seeking to stay in the playoff bracket, or even push Leeds aside. Derby on their side hopes to get into the top half as they push for another appearance in the playoffs.
Derby has done well at home and we have a feeling they could claim the three points here. They have a good record against Fulham at Pride Park and simply need this win more than the visitors. It is either that or “both teams to score” in our opinion and this time opted for the better price.