Derby County vs Cardiff CityEnglish Championship, KO: 19:45 Sep 13, 2019, Pride Park
THE international break may be over but Championship hostilities are renewed with an England v Wales clash for Friday night football.
Derby and Cardiff started the season with dreams of promotion after the Rams missed out in the play-off final and the Bluebirds tumbled out of the top flight.
But neither side have made an impressive start to the campaign with Derby just two points clear of the relegation places in 19th and Neil Warnock's men sitting two points ahead of them in 13th.
Losing Frank Lampard to Chelsea was a blow for the Pride Park club yet they looked to have recruited his replacement wisely by landing former PSV boss Phillip Cocu.
With Wayne Rooney also lined up for a move to Derby as player-coach in January there was plenty of optimism as the new season kicked off and that only increased when Cocu took five points from his first three league games in an unbeaten start.
However, a 2-1 home loss to Bristol City knocked the Rams out of their stride and they went into the international break on a downer after losing 3-0 at Nottingham Forest and Brentford in the EFL Cup and league respectively.
Cocu has been able to work with his players on the training ground during the hiatus but will know it won't be easy when Warnock's side come calling.
Cardiff also struggled before the break, drawing with Blackburn and Fulham in between a 3-0 EFL Cup loss at home to Luton, and appear to be suffering from a lack of confidence after relegation.
But they have gone three games unbeaten in the league and I wouldn't be surprised if they took something at Pride Park in what will be a contrast of footballing cultures.
Warnock's direct brand of football might upset Cocu, who likes a possession-based game, and Cardiff are 15/8 with Bet365 for a win. If you want to play a little safer try the Bluebirds in the draw no bet market at 11/10 with Marathonbet.
Derby have yet to win at home this season, with two draws and a defeat from their three games, and badly miss the creative spark of Mason Mount and Harry Wilson.
Mount followed Lampard back to Chelsea after his stellar loan spell last term while Wilson returned to Liverpool, who then farmed him out to Bournemouth.
They haven't been adequately replaced and the Rams have netted just twice in their last four games so don't expect fireworks in this one, with Cardiff also scoring just once in their last three matches. Under 2.5 goals is 21/20 with Marathonbet and I'll be sticking a few quid on that.
Ladbrokes are also offering 6/4 on under 1.5 goals in the first half, under 2.5 goals in the second and either team to win, which looks decent value.
In the anytime scorer market, Cardiff's Leandro Bacuna looks a bit overpriced at 10/1 with Betway given he has a fierce long-range strike and hits a mean free-kick.
Derby's best bet for a goal is striker Martyn Waghorn, who is on spot-kick duties, and the former Rangers man is 21/10 with Paddy Power to net at any time.
This English Championship match between Derby County and Cardiff City will be played on Sep 13, 2019 and kick off at 19:45