Rock-bottom Derby County welcome league leaders, Bournemouth, to Pride Park in a blockbuster Sky Bet Championship clash.
Having received a further nine-point deduction in midweek for accountancy breaches, Derby can move themselves out of the negative points range with a win.
Bournemouth meanwhile can move back above Fulham into top spot with a win.
Nathan Byrne is suspended for Derby after he was red carded in the Rams’ 1-1 draw at Millwall a fortnight ago.
Krystian Bielik remains ruled out with a serious knee injury suffered in January.
Bournemouth will be without Robbie Brady and Ben Pearson due to respective knocks.
Jordan Zemura (ankle), Junior Stanislas (hamstring), Adam Smith (knee) and David Brooks (illness) remain absent.
- Derby are unbeaten in their last nine meetings against Bournemouth across all competitions (W6, D3).
- Bournemouth are winless in their last five visits to Derby without scoring but conceded eight goals across those five clashes (L5).
- Derby have scored first in three of their last five matches (D3, L2).
- Dominic Solanke has scored in each of Bournemouth’s last two away matches (W2).
- This is Derby’s first match this season to be refereed by Gavin Ward.
With a further points deduction now making survival increasingly difficult with 28 matches left and a 18 point gap to safety, Derby simply need to hit the ground running with a strong performance and start to pull a winning run together quickly to give themselves a decent chance.
Defending though seems to be Derby’s biggest issue because they do score goals yet can’t seem to keep clean sheets, which does look like a tough ask here against a rampant Bournemouth team.
Speaking of Bournemouth, they suffered a brief blip just for the international break but rebounded with a ruthless thrashing of Swansea last time out, so I do expect them to come here fighting for the win despite Pride Park being a bogey ground in recent visits for the Cherries.
On that note, this could be closer than expected if Wayne Rooney has focused on tightening up the defensive aspects of his team during the fortnight off, otherwise I fancy Bournemouth to take a comfortable win.
Prediction: Derby 0-2 Bournemouth
Result: Derby 3-2 Bournemouth