MX23RW : Friday, July 30 05:34:22| >> :120:49459:49459:
Feb 21, 2020 at 7.45pm UK at Pride Park Stadium
Attendance: 25,442
DerbyDerby County
Rooney (55' pen.)
FT(HT: 0-0)
Mitrovic (71')

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

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Friday's Championship fixture between Derby County and Fulham.

Fulham travel to Pride Park to face Derby County on Friday night looking to move level on points with second-placed Leeds United.

Meanwhile, the Rams play host to the Championship promotion contenders sitting in 13th position, nine points adrift of the playoffs.

Match preview

Fulham manager Scott Parker on February 15, 2020© Reuters

With a number of their nearest rivals having failed to find any consistency in recent weeks, Fulham had the opportunity to move into the top two of the Championship standings, keeping in close proximity to leaders West Bromwich Albion.

However, a 1-1 draw at Millwall was followed by a hugely disappointing 3-0 home defeat to Barnsley - a result which left Scott Parker to acknowledge that his side had failed to meet their previous standards.

Although the Cottagers sit just three points adrift of Leeds, there is the same margin between the West Londoners and Bristol City in seventh, putting Parker and his squad in a position where they are looking over their shoulders.

A positive result in the East Midlands will change their perspective, but Fulham need to improve in the final third with just nine goals coming in as many matches.

Despite Aleksandar Mitrovic having 21 strikes to his name, just seven of his teammates have chipped in with contributions of their own since the beginning of August.

As far as Derby are concerned, their goal return has improved significantly since the arrival of Wayne Rooney, with 16 being netted in their last half-a-dozen outings in all competitions.

That has been undermined by 11 being shipped at the other end, leaving head coach Philip Cocu to try to restore some balance to a team which had showed signs of progression.

At a time when the club have reached the FA Cup fifth round, a run of five wins from seven had been recorded at the second tier before their failure to see off either Bristol City or Huddersfield Town.

While their earlier momentum has disappeared, Friday's game represents a chance to remain active in the race for the top six, a target which can still be achieved if they can get at least six points on the board from three fixtures before the showdown with Manchester United in the FA Cup.

Derby County Championship form: WLWWLD
Derby County form (all competitions): LWWWLD

Fulham Championship form: WDWWDL
Fulham form (all competitions): DLWWDL

Team News

Derby manager Phillip Cocu on February 8, 2020© Reuters

Despite the frustrating draw with Huddersfield last time out, Cocu is unlikely to make many changes to his Derby starting lineup.

Jayden Bogle could be an option at right-back, replacing Andre Wisdom, although Max Lowe is also pushing for a recall to the side.

Fulham boss Parker is expected to make several alterations, however, and a change between the sticks is a possibility given Marek Rodak's display against Barnsley.

That could see Marcus Bettinelli return to the team, while Denis Odoi is an option at right-back in place of Steven Sessegnon.

Harry Arter and Bobby Decordova-Reid are also in line to start, potentially at the expense of Kevin McDonald and Anthony Knockaert.

Derby County possible starting lineup:
Roos; Bogle, Davies, Clarke, Forsyth; Holmes, Bird, Rooney, Lawrence; Waghorn, Martin

Fulham possible starting lineup:
Bettinelli; Odoi, Hector, Ream, Bryan; Cairney, Arter, Onomah; Decordova-Reid, Mitrovic, Cavaleiro

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We say: Derby County 1-1 Fulham

With both teams having failed to win any of the last two games, we feel that this will be a closely-fought contest. Although each side contains proven goalscorers, this could turn out to be a low-scoring draw.

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Derby manager Phillip Cocu on February 8, 2020
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Friday's key events

· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

> Today's schedule in full
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