Derby County will clash heads with Fulham in the first leg of the playoff semi-final of the Skybet Championship on Friday night. The Rams are enjoying a rich vein of form in the league after beating Barnsley with an empathic 4-1 scoreline last weekend. However, the Cottagers suffered a 3-1 away loss at the hands of Birmingham City which has derailed their quest to earn a promotion back of the Premier League.
The recent history of this fixture has been a tale of mixed fortunes for both teams. The Rams have won one, drawn three and lost one of their previous five meetings with their London-based opponents. Only time will tell who comes out on top in this crucial encounter on Friday.
The Rams have no fresh injury concerns to deal with. Both Ikechi Anya (calf) and Sam Winnall (knee) will miss out on this contest due to injuries. Marcus Ollson is a major doubt for the first leg after he just managed to play for 38 minutes against Barnsley. Gary Rowett is expected to stick with his trusted 3-4-3 formation and could name a strong side on Friday night.
It remains to be seen whether Matt Targett plays any part in this contest following his recent comeback from an ankle injury. There are no new injury worries for the Cottagers ahead of this crucial encounter at Pride Park. Slaviša Jokanović could deploy a 4-3-3 formation in this match and might name an unchanged side on Friday night.
Scott Carson; Richard Keogh, Curtis Davies, Craig Forsyth; Andre Wisdom, Tom Huddlestone, Bradley Johnson, Matej Vydra; Andreas Weimann, Cameron Jerome, Tom Lawrence
Marcus Bettinelli; Ryan Fredericks, Denis Odoi, Tim Ream, Ryan Sessegnon; Stefan Johansen, Kevin McDonald, Tom Cairney; Lucas Piazon, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Aboubakar Kamara
The Rams defence led by Curtis Davies needs to keep things tight at the back and stop Aleksander Mitrovic from scoring on the night. Derby forward Cameron Jerome will look to register his name on the scoresheet once again after finding the back of the net against Barnsley on Sunday.
A lot will rest on the young shoulders of Ryan Sessegnon and whether he can cope with the pressure of the playoffs. Mitrovic would need to be at the top of his game and register a goal in this contest if the Cottagers are to come away with a positive result from Pride Park.
Derby County win: 15/8
Fulham win: 7/5