Phillip Cocu’s Derby get their 2020/21 Championship campaign underway on Saturday as they welcome Mark Bowen’s Reading to Pride Park this afternoon.
The hosts may certainly be feeling the effects of the transfer window, having lost defensive duo Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe to Premier League side Sheffield United.
Their opponents meanwhile have been busy in recruitment, bringing in Liverpool midfielder Ovie Ejaria on a permanent deal after two successive loan spells at the Madejski Stadium.
It’s a hugely important fixture for both clubs as they look to get their campaigns off to the perfect start.
The Rams will be keen to improve on their 10th place finish last time out, with Reading undoubtedly eager to climb from 14th into the top half of the table.
It’s currently 21/20 for a home victory, with an away win available at 13/5.
A draw between the pair has been given odds of 5/2.
Both meetings last season were certainly full of action, with the Royals winning their home fixture 3-0 against the ten men of Derby.
Penalties from Charlie Adam and Yakou Meite either side of a Lucas Joao strike helped secure all three points after Scott Malone’s early red.
The Rams then got their revenge at home with a 2-1 victory, with both sides reduced to ten men at full time.
Andy Rinomhota helped pull a goal back for the visitors after Tom Lawrence and Wayne Rooney had given the hosts the lead. The former then saw red alongside Reading’s Matt Miazga, with the pair clashing upon the final whistle.
It’s currently 40/1 for another 3-0 win for Reading, with another 2-1 Derby victory available at 8/1.
Having netted 13 times in the last campaign, Meite will once again be the man to watch in front of goal. His team-mate George Puscas managed 12, with Joao their nearest competitor in a Reading shirt on seven.
Meite and Puscas are both currently 7/1 to score first on Saturday, with Joao available at 17/2.
However, the hosts also have a proven goalscorer in Martyn Waghorn. The striker recorded 12 Championship goals last season, and has been given odds of 9/2 to score first, and 7/5 to score anytime.
Team-mates Louis Sibley and Wayne Rooney are both currently 7/1 to net the opener.