You feel this particular fixture comes at a huge juncture for both of these managers.
Derby, just a point worse-off than Fulham despite scoring 11 goals fewer in their 24 games thus far, are probably considering pushing the reset button with Phillip Cocu.
Associated with some of the best footballing sides of the 1990s in PSV and Barcelona, Cocu’s appointment brought about hope that sophistication would result in an extended challenge at automatic promotion – but no.
Lee Bowyer, meanwhile, is probably a tad safer, given the goodwill is still there from the promotion campaign, and they’re now three games on the spin without defeat. But with seven points at best separating these two from the bottom three, you’d think both owners, if not the managers, expect three points here.
And if it’s not forthcoming, you feel this very fixture could be merely a harbinger for what’s to come. Here’s your four best bets.
Some games will see a side go two goals ahead with the other writing this given result off, seeing as how quickly the turnaround to the next festive period game is.
But this one means more to both managers, as outlined above. And while it might come across that both of these dressing rooms are on the way out, neither manager has lost them yet.
This will be high intensity until the very end, with the cushion of knowing you’ll at least get 90 minutes of effort where parity will always be chased to the final whistle.
Do you know what nerves of a huge game result in? Mistakes.
Both of these sides have excellent technical players when they’re inside the penalty area, and there will be swipes and impatience.
When it comes to what way this game will go, I’d slightly lean towards Charlton ending Cocu’s time at the club, and a Lyle Taylor penalty would add the panache that Cocu once promised.
It’s almost poetic.
There’ll be a big second half surge from Derby County that won’t allow the home crowd to seek blood because that’s now the easy out a football board want to be given.
Instead, they’ll be forced to make a decision that isn’t immediately obvious and open the discourse surrounding how long managers get in jobs again.
Charlton will be finding the net in this one – their 33 goals are more than any of the three sides within a win of the playoff spots – it’s just at the other end where the problems lie.
That leads us to the fourth and final best bet of this particular matchup.
The only thing this game guarantees us is drama, so with the nil-all draw covered in the match odds selection, you feel that backing both teams to score here is the obvious play.
I understand it’s a rare thing to see Derby County score a goal for anyone to see, but this is a different kind of game and now the whole country is watching.
- The Draw (12/5)
- Lyle Taylor to Score Anytime (21/10)
- Half Time Result: Charlton (7/2)
- Both Teams to Score: Yes (3/4)