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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Draw specialists Derby set for another stalemate at Molineux

Solid Rams can frustrate league leaders Wolves

Tom Huddlestone (left) is the protector in midfield for Derby
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Sky Bet Championship
Live on Sky Sports Football & Main Event, 7.45pm Wednesday

Derby have had nine draws on their travels, the joint-highest total in the Championship, and are worth backing to get another stalemate at Molineux, a result which would suit both sides.

Wolves are inching their way towards the title and have overcome a sticky patch which yielded just one win in five.

Four wins in their last five have righted those wrongs and they must think they’re indestructible after winning 1-0 at Cardiff, who missed two injury-time penalties.

They continue to score goals, especially at home, but they are leaking them as well, best seen in home 2-2 draws against Norwich and Hull, opponents they would doubtlessly have effortlessly cuffed aside earlier in the campaign.

The hosts will be popular to big-hitters at 5-8 but at this stage of the season, against decent opposition, that looks short enough.

And Derby are decent. They also went through a difficult period of eight outings without a victory before back-to-back successes against Preston and Bolton.

That has cemented their place in the playoffs but they’ve got a brute of a run-in featuring showdowns with Villa, Middlesbrough and Cardiff so they’ve got to stay competitive.

Competitive at Molineux means relying on their defence, which has rediscovered some solidity. Chris Baird has slotted in tidily at left-back but will never be a great marauder down his flank which helps to ensure a low-risk approach from the visitors. Equally, Tom Huddlestone and Joe Ledley aren’t the quickest in midfield, so they are going to be all about taking care of the ball and protecting the back four.

The onus, therefore, is going to be on Wolves to break them down and, as we saw at Cardiff, that isn’t always straightforward.

1pt 3-1 general

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Team news
Nuno Espirito Santo is set to switch his frontmen with Ivan Caveleiro recalled.

Marcus Olsson, Bradley Johnson, Ikechi Anya and Sam Winnall are injured.

Key stat
Wolves have scored at least two goals in each of their last six at home.

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The hosts will be popular to big-hitters at 5-8 but at this stage of the season, against decent opposition, that looks short enough
E.W. Terms
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