DERBY’s priority is clearly promotion to the Premiership and that was stressed by the signings of star turns Tom Ince and Darren Bent.
Hull’s Ince has hit three goals in two games and Aston Villa loanee Bent four in four. Today County turn their attention to the FA Cup and their squad looks strong enough to cope with an assault on the title and a potential trip to Wembley.
Bent should start in place of injured Scotland striker Chris Martin in the home clash with Reading today and Ince is also expected to play.
Derby have beaten Reading in the league and Capital One Cup this season and are a best 3-4 at bet365 to win with a revitalised Bent my pick at 5-1 at bet365 to score first.
There are three other FA Cup ties today and punters will tread warily after all the last-round shocks including Bradford’s win at Chelsea and Man City’s defeat by Middlesbrough.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insists the FA Cup is a priority for his men this season and after beating Spurs in midweek I expect them to come through a test at Crystal Palace.
However, team news for this one is vital as the Reds have doubts over Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana. Daniel Sturridge could be stood down to give Rickie Lambert or Mario Balotelli a start but having lost just once in 21 I’m tempted by Liverpool at a best 11-10 with William Hill.
Stoke should beat Blackburn away with the Championship side making changes. I’m on draw no bet at 3-4 with Betway and Stoke are a best 6-4 to win with the likes of William Hill. I’ll have Peter Crouch at 6-1 with BetVictor to score first if he starts.
The all-Premiership tie between West Brom and West Ham is tough to call and looks a draw at 5-2 with boylesports.
With Middlesbrough and Derby in cup action, Bournemouth have a chance to return to the top of the Championship. Eddie Howe’s men are 8-15 at Ladbrokes and bet365 to beat Huddersfield and I can’t see them slipping up.
For a first scorer what about the impressive Yann Kermorgant at 5-1 with Betfred.