After falling short last season, both Brighton and Derby will be looking to go that one step further, and gain promotion to the Premier League, after both lost their play-off semi-final matches. Both teams will be gunning for the victory, to kickstart what is going to be a tight and tense season.
Nigel Pearson will take charge of his first competitive game for Derby, and should have a fully-fit squad to choose from besides Marcus Olsson and Jacob Butterfield. He will have a selection headache it seems up top, as anyone of Johnny Russell, Darren Bent, Nick Blackman or Andreas Weimann could partner Chris Martin, whereas most other positions are pretty clear-cut.
FACT; Derby only lost 4 league game at home last year, winning 12.
Chris Hughton looks set to give new signing Oliver Norwood his first run-out for the Albion, after signing him on Wednesday. Dale Stephens is absent as he completes his 3 game ban, which rolled over from last season. If Hughton does decide to use his preferred 4-4-2 formation, Glenn Murray and Tomer Hemed look set to partner each other, otherwise Steve Sidwell could come into the midfield, with Norwood playing off the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
FACT; Brighton will bring over a 14 game unbeaten league run with them into the new season (9W, 5D).
Last Time We Met; BHAFC - DCFC (2/5/16)
A intense and grueling game took place back on May bank holiday earlier this year. Both team needing wins for different reasons, but only a point was good enough after a 95th minute equaliser from James Wilson. Andreas Weimann had given the Rams the lead, not long before Lewis Dunk saw his second red of the season.
Brighton have won 14 of the 40 games played between the 2 sides, while Derby have won half. 2 of the 6 draws have been in the previous 2 games played between the sides, and another one is expected at the iPro on Saturday.
Rosenior, Bruno, Dunk, Bong;
Knockaert, Sidwell, Kayal, Skalak;
Derby 1-1 Brighton