Derby County host Bristol City on Tuesday in what should be a thrilling encounter at Pride Park.
The two clubs battled for a playoff position last season and met in what seemingly turned out to be a playoff decider at Ashton Gate with just three games to go. The Rams won 2-0, going on to clinch sixth spot.
Both clubs have made several changes to their respective squads since then. Derby head into the clash unbeaten in three games, while Bristol City have taken four points from their first three games.
New Rams manager Phillip Cocu should make changes to the side following their 2-2 draw at Stoke City on Saturday. Here is how we believe Derby will line up.
Cocu named an unchanged side in his opening three league games of the season in a 4-3-3 system. However, despite collecting five points, the midfield balance isn’t right and striker Jack Marriott is now fit enough to start.
Krystian Bielik joined Derby from Arsenal for a projected £10 million. The Pole came on during the second half at Stoke and put in a strong performance. Bielik has more mobility than Tom Huddlestone, and a bigger presence than George Evans. It’s only a mater of time before he makes that holding role at Pride Park his own.
Evans is likely to retain his place in midfield with Cocu telling the Derby Telegraph how new signing Graeme Shinnie is not yet up to speed. Academy product Jason Knight will push for a regular spot soon.
Cocu must also find a spot for Jack Marriott. The former Peterborough striker is a popular player at Pride Park. He’s a natural goal scorer, netting 10 goals last season despite only making 19 Championship starts.
To play both Marriott and Martyn Waghorn, Derby can alter between a diamond and a 4-3-3 system. Frank Lampard stunned Leeds United by doing it last season, winning 4-2 in the playoff second leg at Elland Road.
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