Saturday lunchtime sees Derby County face fellow promotion chasing side Sheffield Wednesday at the iPro Stadium.
Derby go into the game having already qualified for this season’s play-offs, following their 3-2 win at Bristol City on Tuesday night. Whilst Sheffield Wednesday sit 6th in the table, and are still yet to secure their play-off place.
The Owls go into the game coming off the back of a 0-0 draw against MK Dons.
The two sides played out a goalless draw at Hillsborough when they met in December earlier this season.
All Sheffield Wednesday have to do is avoid defeat at the iPro, and hope Cardiff lose to Bolton in order to qualify for the play-offs.
Wednesday are not in the best of form heading into the tie, having not won in their last 3 games, scoring just 2 goals. Whilst the Rams have secured 4 successive wins for the first time since 2014, conceding only 3 times in the process.
Football League World writer Robert Booth identifies THREE things to look out for during game…..
1) A lot of attacking quality on show
Both Derby and Sheffield Wednesday have players capable of finding the net, Chris Martin and Fernando Forestieri have 30 goals between them this season.
Derby’s Johnny Russell is in red hot form, having scored 4 goals in his last 3 games. While the Owls are not in good goal scoring form at all, managing just 5 since the start of April.
But there’s no doubt that Wednesday have some top players in attack who can step their game for this important fixture. Gary Hooper, Lucas João and Barry Bannan can all pose a threat to Derby’s back line.
2) Sheffield Wednesday could nick it
For Sheffield Wednesday it’s still all to play for, whilst Derby have completed their objective of reaching the play-offs.
Wednesday will be desperate to solidify a play-off place since they must face 7th placed Cardiff in their next match after Derby, and the Owls’ 6 point gap to Cardiff could be down to 3 points going into that game if results go against them.
Derby’s solid looking defence hasn’t been at it’s best in recent games, with Bristol City netting 2 goals in 7 minutes on Tuesday, as well as Charlton breaching the Rams’ defence on a number of occasions, only to not take their chances. And a good defensive performance will be needed to keep out Wednesday’s talented attack force.
3) The Owls to miss Ross Wallace
Wallace will miss the game at Derby through suspension after picking up a red card for violent conduct in Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw with Milton Keynes Dons.
He has been one of Wednesday’s star performers this season, and he has scored 2 of the 5 goals Wednesday have managed this month. Sheffield Wednesday will miss his ability to run with the ball and drive at defences, just the kind of player need when playing in a big game.
Marco Matias could take Wallace’s place in the starting line-up on Saturday, and Jérémy Hélan could come into the squad after being recalled from his loan at Wolves earlier this week.
Derby and Sheffield Wednesday fans…What is your score prediction? Will Sheffield Wednesday join Derby in the play-offs? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!