Derby County host Charlton Athletic on Monday night in the final game before Wayne Rooney joins the Rams.
The former England international has already taken up his coaching duties since leaving MLS side DC United in November but will finally be able to take to the pitch in January.
He will join a Rams side seriously struggling for form this season, with Philippe Cocu’s men winless in their last seven and sitting way down in 20th place in the Championship table.
Things aren’t looking too much better for Charlton, who sit two places and one point ahead of Monday’s opponent in 18th, although the Addicks are unbeaten in their last three – drawing two and winning one.
When is Derby vs Charlton and where can I watch live?
Venue: Pride Park
Date: Monday, 30 December 2019
Kick-off: 19:45 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): Sky Sports Football
Last five meetings: Derby vs Charlton
19 Oct 2019: Charlton 3-0 Derby (Championship)
16 Apr 2016: Charlton 0-1 Derby (Championship)
15 Aug 2015: Derby 1-1 Charlton (Championship)
24 Feb 2015: Derby 2-0 Charlton (Championship)
26 Aug 2014: Derby 1-0 Charlton (League Cup)
Aggregate Score: Derby (LWDWW) 5-4 Charlton (WLDLL)
Ones to watch
Derby: Martyn Waghorn
If Derby are to claw themselves up the table and away from the relegation battle, they simply must improve their record in front of goal – hence the signing of Rooney.
However, until the former Man Utd and Everton man can take to the pitch, the goalscoring burden is likely to remain firmly on Martyn Waghorn, who has scored seven Championship goals so far this season.
Key stat: No Derby player has scored more Championship goals than Waghorn (7) this season.
Charlton: Tom Lockyer
Charged with keeping a lid on the likes of Waghorn will be Welsh centre-back, Tom Lockyer.
Charlton are without a clean sheet in their last 12 games, ironically dating back to their 3-0 win over Derby back in October, and need to tighten up at the back if they’re to keep this three-game unbeaten streak going.
Lockyer’s partnership with Naby Sarr and Jason Pearce will be key to galvanising those around them to become a more solid unit.
Key stat: Lockyer has won more aerial duels (89) than any other Charlton player in the Championship this season.
Cocu remains without a long list of first-team players for Monday’s clash, with Tom Huddlestone, Matthew Clarke, Ikechi Anya, Graeme Shinnie, Mason Bennett, George Evans and Krystian Bielik all injured.
Left-back Scott Malone is suspended.
Predicted XI: Hamer; Bogle, Forsyth, Davies, Lowe; Holmes, Knight; Marriott, Waghorn, Lawrence; Martin.
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Things are equally tricky for Lee Bowyer, who will be without Conor Gallagher, Lewis Page, Jake Forster-Caskey, Sam Field, Ben Amos, George Lapslie, Josh Cullen, Beram Kayal and Jonathan Williams all on the treatment table.
Predicted XI: Phillips; Pearce, Sarr, Lockyer; Solly, Oshilaja, Pratley, Morgan, Doughty; Taylor, Bonne.
Derby have been in horrible form recently and look totally devoid of confidence in front of goal. Luckily for them, they face a Charlton side who seem to have forgotten what a clean sheet feels like, so the Rams should at least get on the scoresheet.
The main issue for Cocu’s men is keeping the Addicks out at the other end, with Bowyer’s side netting seven times in their past three games, in which time they’ve remained unbeaten – expect that to continue here.