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Hull may find it tough at ambitious Derby

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Derby's minimum target this season is a place in the Sky Bet Championship playoffs and they can climb into the top six by beating Hull at Pride Park.

Almost six months into Gary Rowett's spell at County, his team remain a work in progress.

Rowett's Derby have collected 22 points from 14 games - an average of 1.57 points per game - and that will need to improve if they are to get into the playoff picture.

They put in a poor performance before the international break, losing 3-1 at Sheffield United, and Rowett will want to see more resilience from his players as the season starts to take shape.

Derby are probably still adjusting to the counter-attacking style favoured by their manager but they should be at a more advanced stage in their development than Hull, who have thrown together an almost entirely new group of players.

The Tigers have gone through a whirlwind summer with nine senior players departing, including centre-back Curtis Davies and midfielder Tom Huddlestone who were transferred to Derby.

Thirteen new players have arrived - three of them on loan deals - and given the number of changes, Hull's tally of seven points from the first five games looks a decent return.

Manager Leonid Slutsky is new to the league but he has approached the task with plenty of enthusiasm and is getting a committed response from the players.

And his options have been further enhanced over the last two weeks with Jackson Irvine and Nouha Dicko signing from Burton and Wolves in the last few days of the transfer window.

Over the course of 46 games, Hull's squad looks strong enough to challenge for a top-ten finish but there are likely to be teething problems as Skutsky works out his best 11.

His team produced their best performance and result of the season before the international break, winning 4-0 at home to struggling Bolton, but they are still waiting for their first win on the road after a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa and a 2-1 defeat at QPR.

Hull's poor away record goes back to last season when they finished the Premier League campaign with one win, three draws and 15 defeats.

They are going to have much better opportunities to win away games in the Championship but Derby at Pride Park is one of the tougher assignments and they are likely to return home empty-handed.


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Match in Focus

13:00 TODAY BBC1

Colombia v Japan

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Discounting 2002 when they had home advantage, Japan have played 13 matches at the World Cup finals and won just twice
Expert verdict
There has been chaos in the Japanese ranks with a late change of manager not helping their World Cup plans and they don't look ready to take on classy Colombia. The South Americans were quarter-finalists four years ago and anything like that kind of form should be too hot for Japan.