Championship leaders Brighton Hove Albion travel to Pride Park Stadium this weekend, as Chris Hughton’s men look to remain the only unbeaten side among England’s top four divisions. However, Paul Clement’s Derby; in fine form themselves, will be out to spoil the Seagull’s party.
What will the outcome be when these two sides meet? Here’s what two of our followers had to say:
The hosts: Derby – Alex Burns
I am Alex Burns, a Derby County follower and I am going to be previewing Derby County’s challenge of unbeaten Brighton and Hove Albion this weekend.
After a slow start, Derby have found their stride in the last couple of months under new boss Paul Clement, and are unbeaten since losing to Nottingham Forest in early November and after a sensational 2-0 away win at early pace-setters Hull City, they are now considered a serious threat in the Championship, currently sitting third behind second-placed Middlesbrough and this weekend’s opponents Brighton.
Current manager approval rating
Paul Clement; so far at least, a solid 8/10. The former Real Madrid assistant has not done much wrong but is not yet at the stage of dazzling the fans. I’m sure that would come with promotion to the Premier League however.
Predicted starting line-up:
Player to Watch: Bradley Johnson
The signing of Bradley Johnson was a sensational coup for the Rams to smash their transfer record to get him for Norwich on transfer deadline day for £6m. He’s been nothing short of magnificent, a natural leader with experience in the top two tiers of English football, his control in midfield has settled a Derby team who are ticking once again and he can make the difference between the play-offs and automatic promotion.
Most feared opposition player: Solly March
In a season full of fantastic players so far for the Seagulls, Solly March has been the best. A local talent scouted in has made the step up to the first-team and he is a real spark in the Brighton side. His creativity and drive on the right-hand side is a real prominence for Brighton.
It’ll be a tough game, Derby unbeaten at home since August and Brighton unbeaten altogether this season. Both sides to cancel each other out. Derby 1-1 Brighton.
You can follow Alex on Twitter here: @alexburns1088
The visitors: Brighton – Matt Bather
I’m Matt, supporter of hometown side Brighton. To the surprise of just about every fan out there, the Seagulls currently sit atop of the Championship table at the mid-way point of the season.
Unbeaten without exactly setting the league alight with a bag full of goals, a solid foundation at the Amex has so far been Brighton’s road to success. Add to this the return of club legend Bobby Zamora and Brighton fans may start dreaming of a return to English Football top flight after a 33 year absence.
Current manager approval rating – 8/10
Chris Hughton has had a tough time of it in management; working under Mike Ashley at Newcastle is enough for anyone to rethink the game. However, he has picked it up again as the Seagulls boss with his level headed approach and straight talking attitude. After adopting a side who finished 20th in the Championship last season, the former Republic of Ireland man should be highly commended for his achievements this campaign – long may it continue.
Predicted starting line-up
Player to watch: James Wilson
The Manchester United loanee undoubtedly has talent and is a real prospect for the future. After scoring his first goal for the club in the spirited fight back against Charlton, Wilson will be eager to impress both Seagulls and Red Devils fans alike.
Most feared opposition player: Chris Martin
Seven goals in 11 appearances after a slow start to the season, the Scotland international is the Rams leading goalscorer this season and can be a real handful on his day.
As much as I’d like to say it’s going to be a high paced, high scoring affair, I really don’t see it. Away from home and with injuries to key players the Seagulls need to maintain – I’m going for a 0-0 I’m afraid.
You can follow Matt on Twitter here: @mattbather
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