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Michael Taylor 20th Aug 2010 - 9:51

Boothroyd’s Blues can win the midlands Derby

We all know the story of Blackpool's rags to riches story, the question is who will fill that role this year in the nPower Championship?

Well two of the potential candidates meet at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday afternoon and while they may have more recent success than Ian Holloway's Seasiders, Coventry City and Derby still have to overcome the odds to achieve promotion this season.

Coventry, one of the pre-season relegation betting front runners have come firing out of the traps under the leadership of former Watford chief Aidy Boothroyd.

They followed up an impressive 2-0 opening day win over newly relegated Portsmouth with a perhaps even more impressive late fightback against a Watford side buzzing with confidence.

Down 2-0 with just three minutes to play the Sky Blues of old would have thrown in the towel and accepted defeat, not under Boothroyd though who already looks to have instilled a bit of the fighting spirit required for lower budget sides to thrive.

And while it took a debateable last minute penalty to draw them level it won't have bothered manager or fans one jot. In fact it plays right up to the old football adage that success is as much about playing badly and coming away with a result as playing well and destroying the opposition.

Obviously it's still very early days, the signs are looking positive though and they can stamp another signal of their intentions if they can overcome Nigel Clough's seemingly much improved Derby.

The Rams started in the best possible fashion when they wiped the smile off the faces of optimistic Leeds fans on opening day.

In Kris Commons they showed they have someone who can unlock defences while Rob Hulse proved he can play the role of mobile targetman to perfection, even chipping in with a sublime finish in that game against the otherwise excellent Kaspar Schmeichel.

It didn't quite click in the same manner when Cardiff came from behind to snatch victory last Saturday but there's still enough to suggest they'll be a game for anybody throughout the year.

Whether they can get to terms with Coventry's confidence here is the big issue and personally I think they'll struggle, making a home win look value at 7/5.

Freddy Eastwood will be desperate to get going again in front of his home fans after a bit of a non-descript effort at Vicarage Road saw him sacrificed midway through the second half.

It was a far cry from his seasonal debut where he put Pompey to the sword with a brilliant brace - Sky Blues fans will certainly be hoping it's this Eastwood that turns up on Saturday.

If it is the latter on show then the 11/2 first goalscorer price will be a steal while young Lucas Jutkiewicz deserves some respect after calmly rolling in the last minute penalty against the Hornets. He's available at 7/4 to score anytime and 6/1 to repeat his heroics and notch the last goal.

As for Derby you have to expect Hulse will hustle and bustle in typical fashion, no doubt causing problems all day for the likes of Ben Turner and Nathan Cameron, however their chances hinge on the supporting cast.

Paul Green and Dave Martin have bundles of energy, it's up to them to provide the end product now while Robbie Savage has to keep it together in front of the back four otherwise Stephen Bywater's goal is in risk of becoming too exposed.

It's a tough ask given Nigel Clough's demands for a prettier passing game than in seasons gone by but what it should lead to is a lot of chances at both ends of the pitch and a great watch for the Sky Sports audience.

If the forwards can capitalise on the spaces then goals should be plentiful, the over 3.5 goals looking particularly interesting at 11/4.

All in all though, if Coventry's form over the first two games is real then they should be the ones taking the points here and a scoreline such as 3-1 at 18/1 isn't beyond the realms of possibility.

 
 
 

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