Northampton have been climbing the League Two table and are very much in with a shout for automatic promotion after a run of good form in 2020.
They’re on a run of six wins from eight unbeaten games across all tournaments, including a goalless stalemate hosting the Rams, so Phillip Cocu’s men have little room for complacency here.
Derby also arrive in decent nick with a W5-D2-L1 record from their last eight fixtures, most notably downing Stoke 4-0 at Pride Park on Friday, while having an extra day of rest compared to Northampton ahead of this one is hardly going to hurt their chances.
With the hosts’ league season petering out into nothing – they’re 10 points adrift of the play-offs and 11 above the drop zone – we would expect them to have a go in the FA Cup.
Wayne Rooney To Score Anytime
Indeed, Cocu appears to recognise that this competition could hand him a boost and went as far as to select Wayne Rooney in the original clash, and there’ll be additional motivation for the former England captain to advance to the next round.
The winner of this tie will face Man Utd in the last 16 and the Red Devil’s all-time top scorer has begun to find his feet at Derby.
He’s bagged goals in their last two outings versus Luton and Stoke, and up against limited opposition, we fancy him to add another.
Derby To Win To Nil
The visitors haven’t been too good at keeping clean sheets on the road as prior to shutting out 22nd-placed Macclesfield at the weekend, they’d gone seven matches without one dating back to mid-November.
They conceded an average of two per game over this period and given Derby have netted nine times across their past four at home, we certainly wouldn’t expect a repeat goalless stalemate between these two sides.
It’s hard to see past the home win with Derby losing just once in 14 at Pride Park, winning nine of the last 12, while the past 11 there have yielded six clean sheets as they didn’t concede more than once in any of them.
Northampton don’t draw too many blanks in League Two, but Championship sides are a different kettle of fish and the Rams have already recorded a 1-0 win over Palace in this competition. They’ve won to nil in seven of their last nine victories now, including both their last two on home soil, so we’d expect them to edge this encounter.
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