Derby v Fulham preview: Championship play-off semi-final first leg live on Sky Sports Football
Last Updated: 11/05/18 7:02pm
Derby defender Marcus Olsson is an injury concern ahead of the Championship play-off semi-final first leg with Fulham.
The full-back limped off against Barnsley on Sunday with a knee problem and the club are awaiting the results of a scan to determine the extent of the damage.
Regardless of whether Olsson is fit, Derby boss Gay Rowett faces a decision about whether to play a back four or have three central defenders with wing-backs. Matej Vydra, the Championship's leading scorer this season with 21 goals, is expected to come back into the starting line-up.
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Fulham have a full-strength squad available for the tie. Matt Targett, who had to come off at half-time against Birmingham due to illness, is fit to play.
On-loan Sheyi Ojo will return to the squad after missing the last few games with an unspecified knock, while Floyd Ayite will be hoping for a start after a recent hamstring injury. Fulham are favourites going into the play-offs but will be aiming for their first semi-final win at the seventh time of asking.
This will be the 62nd meeting between these two clubs in all competitions, with Derby winning 22 times (D20 L19). However, this will be first meeting between the two clubs in the play-offs.
Derby have lost just two of their last 12 home games against Fulham in all competitions (W7 D3).
However, Fulham did win their away league trip to Pride Park earlier this season, winning 2-1 in March with first half goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ryan Sessegnon securing the points.
The team to finish sixth in the Championship has won promotion via the play-offs in just one of the last 12 seasons - Blackpool in 2009-10.
The side to finish third in the second tier has won promotion through the play-offs (current format) on 10 occasions (34%), more than any other position.
This will be Derby's seventh venture into the second tier play-offs, only Ipswich Town (8) have taken part in more. They've only won promotion once in those previous six seasons in the second tier play-offs (in 2006-07).
Fulham will compete in the Championship play-offs for the second consecutive season after losing out to Reading in the semi-finals last term. The Whites have failed to win promotion in all three of their previous seasons in the play-offs in the Football League (also 1988-89 and 1997-98).
Fulham completed more passes (20609), had the best passing accuracy (82.9%) and enjoyed a higher share of possession (60%) than any other Championship team in 2017-18.
Derby's Matej Vydra is the Championship's top scorer this season with 21 goals from just 32 shots on target.
Since making his Fulham debut in February, Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored more league goals than any other Championship player (12).
Both of these sides had automatic promotion within their sights at one point this season, and you wonder what impact that defeat at Birmingham will have on Fulham, especially as it saw their unbeaten run come crashing to an end.
That being said, Fulham were the form side heading into the play-offs last season and they still got knocked out at the semi-final stage. This time they play the away leg first and you feel they'd be more than happy with a draw, which I think they'll get.
David Prutton predicts: 0-0 (9/1 with Sky Bet)