Dive in for Derby

  • By: Craig Chisnall
  • Last Updated: January 10 2014, 19:32 GMT

Craig Chisnall previews this weekend's action in the Sky Bet Leagues and is keen on Derby to beat Leicester on Friday.

Derby are tipped for a win on Friday night
Derby are tipped for a win on Friday night

The game of the Football League weekend is on Friday night and I'm putting my faith in Derby to start it with a bang by winning at leaders Leicester at almost 3/1.

I wouldn't be hugely surprised if these East Midlands rivals finished the season as the top two with the Foxes in great shape to finally get back to the top flight and the Rams a revelation since Steve McClaren took the reins.

The Foxes head into the weekend top by four points having won their last four matches and are now as short as 1/2 to finish in the top two at the end of the campaign.

They've only lost once at the King Power as well this term but County will be more adventurous than most opponents. They gave an experienced Chelsea side a test last Sunday in the FA Cup before the Blues won through 2-0.

But after securing the permanent signing of livewire Simon Dawkins from Tottenham plus Chelsea youngster Patrick Bamford, so impressive in a loan spell at MK Dons this term, arriving on loan for the rest of the season they won't be going in search of a point.

Their tally of 25 goals in 12 games on the road is comfortably the highest in the Championship, with the Foxes having the next best total on 19.

With the likes of Will Hughes, Craig Bryson, Jamie Ward and Chris Martin also in their armoury I believe they are too good to ignore.

I'm also going for a big price on the road in League One by backing Bristol City to continue their improvement under Steve Cotterill with a win at Bradford.

The well-travelled boss was far from a popular choice to take the reins at Ashton Gate following the sacking of Sean O'Driscoll at the start of December.

But Cotterill is quickly winning round those dissenters. The Robins have climbed off the bottom of the table by taking seven points from their last nine and hammered fellow strugglers Stevenage 4-1 in their last league game.

A deserved 1-1 draw with Championship promotions hopefuls Watford in the cup last weekend will also have boosted confidence and they will head to West Yorkshire in much better shape than a month ago.

The Bantams have lost three of their last four matches and haven't won in seven, a run that stretches back to November.

Given those recent records, the away win looks the outcome to get on.

In League Two Burton have charged into promotion contention with five wins in an eight-match unbeaten run and I like them to beat Cheltenham.

Boss Gary Rowett, the former Leicester and Derby defender, continues to do a fine job at the Pirelli Stadium since taking the reins from Paul Peschisolido in March 2012.

They were beaten in the play-offs last term by Burton and lost star man Jacques Maghoma to Sheffield Wednesday in the summer.

But Rowett has recruited well with the likes of Adam McGurk joining from Tranmere and Phil Edwards and Ian Sharps shrewd additions to their backline.

And it's at the back where they've excelled recently by keeping six clean sheets in the last eight.

Town have also improved of late to move into play-off contention but I'd back Burton to edge this one.


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