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Preview: Stoke City vs. Derby County - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Stoke City and Derby County, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Stoke City play host to Derby County on Saturday afternoon realistically requiring maximum points to remain in contention for the Championship playoffs.

Derby make the trip to the bet365 Stadium on the back of a 2-2 draw with Brentford, a result which has moved the Rams eight points clear of the drop zone.

Match preview

Derby County's Lee Gregory scores their first goal against Brentford in the Championship on March 16, 2021© Reuters

On the back of six matches without a win, Wayne Rooney will be less than satisfied with how Derby have performed since the beginning of the month.

Nevertheless, their second-half showing against Brentford was one of their best of the campaign, a timely response to being outplayed during the opening 45 minutes.

With Rotherham eight points behind with four matches remaining, the Rams cannot afford to be complacent, but the fear of being overhauled by the Millers may prove beneficial in the long run.

Derby have started to make a habit of performing better in games where they are underdogs, a trait which Rooney will want to eradicate as soon as possible.

Despite these two clubs currently being separated by eight positions in the standings, there is a feeling that the East Midlands outfit should be regarded as the favourites to topple their hosts.

Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Stoke manager Michael O'Neill will be encouraged with the goalless draw at Cardiff City in midweek, taking the club's recent tally to four points from three matches.

Nevertheless, the Potters have reached a point in their campaign where only wins will do if they want to gatecrash the playoffs over the next seven weeks.

On a positive note, their home form has remained strong with three victories and a draw being recorded from their last five fixtures at the bet365 Stadium.

Just four goals have been scored in six outings, a run which has coincided with Steven Fletcher going five games without finding the back of the net.

Stoke City Championship form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D

Derby County Championship form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D

Team News

Derby County's manager Wayne Rooney before the match on March 6, 2021© Reuters

Despite claiming a point in South Wales, Stoke boss O'Neill will be tempted to name a more attack-minded side at the weekend.

Jack Clarke, Rabbi Matondo and Sam Vokes are all in contention to feature in the final third, potentially at the expense of Jordan Thompson and Fletcher.

Rooney is unable to name the same eleven players which started against Brentford due to Lee Gregory being unable to face his parent club.

Max Bird, Jason Knight and Louie Sibley are competing for two places in the side, leaving Tom Lawrence and Patrick Roberts to remain among the replacements.

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Davies; Chester, Souttar, Batth; Smith, Allen, Mikel, Norrington-Davies; Powell, Clarke; Vokes

Derby County possible starting lineup:
Roos; Wisdom, Mengi, Clarke; Byrne, Shinnie, Knight, Buchanan; Jozwiak, Kazim-Richards, Sibley

SM words green background

We say: Stoke City 1-1 Derby County

While the Rams will be on a high after their comeback against Brentford, a meeting with Stoke represents a different test. Goals will likely be few and far between in the Potteries and these two sides could cancel each other out over the 90 minutes.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

ID:439643:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect9001:

How you voted: Stoke vs Derby

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Brentford manager Thomas Frank pictured on March 3, 2021
Read Next:
Thomas Frank credits Wayne Rooney for Derby "masterstroke"
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