Sky Sports EFL expert David Prutton has issued his prediction for Derby County’s clash with Middlesbrough on Saturday, forecasting a 1-1 draw at Pride Park.
The two sides’ fortunes differed in midweek, with the Rams beating Hull City 1-0 to claim their first win of the 2021/22 campaign and Boro losing 3-2 to 10-man QPR.
Derby were earmarked by many as relegation frontrunners a few weeks ago due to their chaotic summer but Wayne Rooney’s side have gone a little way to proving people wrong by taking four points from their first three games.
Neil Warnock’s men sit level on points and goal difference with the East Midlands club but will have different aspirations for the season, with their eyes firmly set on the top six.
Even so, Prutton has predicted there will be nothing between the two sides when they meet at Pride Park on Saturday.
On the Sky Sports website, he said: “A big win for Derby in midweek as they edged past Hull City, with all the experience of Phil Jagielka at the back helping them over the line. Wayne Rooney is having to do what he can in the market, but it was a great response from what happened at Peterborough in the game before.
“Middlesbrough stumbled to defeat at home to QPR. Once they got level against 10 men you simply have to go on and win those types of games. Neil Warnock was seething, but has all the experience in the world and will put it behind him before Saturday. That being said, I think I’ll back a draw here.”
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You have to give credit to Rooney and the Derby squad, who have shown a lot of spirit and fight in the first few weeks of the season.
The Rams have made a stronger start than most predicted and, were it not for two injury-time goals against Peterborough United, could be one point back from league leaders West Bromwich Albion.
Claiming a first win of the season will be massive for them but the visit of a Boro side that will be determined to bounce back from their midweek defeat is going to be a tough test.
If Rooney’s side can get out of that with the point that Prutton has predicted, that’ll be a massive result.
Boro meanwhile have to view this as a perfect chance to get back to winning ways and push up the table but things aren’t always that easy in the Championship.