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Derby Director Wayne Rooney
Free soccer tips, top bets and analysis for Thursday’s EFL matches.
When to bet
Kick-off Thursday at 7.45 p.m.
Derby or double chance draw
2pts 6-5 coral
2pts 4-6 Betfred, BoyleSports, Coral
Stoke vs. Derby
The boys of the Championship basement, Derby, continue to fight heroically in their unlikely quest for survival and they can get a little closer to the teams above them avoiding defeat to Stoke, going on to the playoffs, at the bet365 stage.
The Rams have had to face a tough fight since being deducted from a 21-point total, but they refuse to lie down and cheered their fans on after Christmas with a relentless 1-0 home win over West Brom Monday.
However, Wayne Rooney’s squad are 14 points from safety and their January plans will remain on hold unless the administrators can close a sale of the club.
Woes off the Derby pitch may ruin their slim hopes of staying put, but they head to Stoke with a competitive squad bolstered by the return to full training of senior quartet Tom Lawrence, Kamil Jozwiak, Phil Jagielka and Graeme Shinnie .
Stoke has to expect a tough game and their preparation has been less than ideal due to a COVID-19 outbreak before Christmas, which forced nine of their players to self-isolate.
The Potters had to postpone their trips to Coventry and Barnsley and might have some time to get back into the mix.
Michael O’Neill’s side are only one point away from the playoffs, but they’re unlikely to be near their best and could struggle to secure the victory.
Bournemouth v Cardiff
Bournemouth, looking for promotions, returned to the top of the league with a well-deserved 1-0 success at QPR on Monday and they can follow it up with a comfortable win over Cardiff at Vitality Stadium.
The Cherries went six games without a win ahead of this week’s trip to west London, but they took center stage from the start and scored the points with Dominic Solanke’s 17th goal of the season in championship.
Scott Parker will be looking for his players to start in the second half of the season and is expected to lead them to success against fifth-bottom Cardiff, who missed their recent home games with Derby and Coventry due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
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FIRST POSTED 17:04, 29 DEC 2021