Newcastle United continue to be without top scorer Gayle because of injury, meaning Murphy remains in the lone striker position. Better news is that Diame will start after making a quick reappearance as a sub on Wednesday on his return from international duty. He significantly improves the prospects of the team in the final third. Dropping two points at home to QPR was a bad result, even more so as title challengers Brighton also dropped points. Newcastle are still playing for top spot, but the gap from second to third is no longer as big as before. They are now under big pressure from teams below them. It makes it more important they get back to winning ways after a promotion rival in Derby. They won’t play for a point.
Derby County head into this match on the back on a hugely impressive display in midweek when defeating Ipswich Town. Steve McClaren will name an unchanged starting eleven for this game. That means Camara starts again despite Russell returning from injury. Baird remains at right back as Christie is not quite ready to start, but remains on the bench. Hughes is still out along with Nugent. McClaren endured a very difficult time as Newcastle manager last year and will be keen to record a victory over a club whose supporters don’t hold him in the highest regard. His current club are in decent form and produced their best display of the season at Ipswich. Their away record against the bigger teams is poor, so Derby would take a point here, but they’ll certainly play to win.
Verdict & Prediction
Newcastle head into this game looking to bounce back from a disappointing home draw to QPR. They know they cannot afford to drop points in their quest for the title with Brighton in such good form. Motivation is high and they expect to win this game, but against Derby they’ll have to play well. Two wins in a row has pushed Derby into a play-off place. Confidence levels are forever increasing and they are building momentum at the perfect time. Scoring goals has been an issue this season but they’ve scored six in their last two now. The team head to Newcastle looking to win.
Prediction: Over 2.5 goals
Odds: 2.16 SBOBET