While both clubs had seasons to forget last term, County are seeking stability despite a threadbare squad, and the Terriers come into the campaign buoyed by a hard-fought Carabao Cup win last weekend.
Derby may have ultimately survived the drop into League One by the skin of their teeth, but they start the 2021-22 season labouring under a transfer embargo, which has hampered rookie manager Wayne Rooney's hopes of rebuilding a squad short of numbers and confidence.
Though the Rams are eligible to sign four players on short-term deals, subject to a strict wage cap, nine trialists - including Rooney's erstwhile Manchester United colleague Ravel Morrison - remain on board. Such instability is far from ideal heading into the weekend's opener versus a relatively settled Huddersfield side.
Part of the deal with hiring such a high-profile figure as boss is the inevitable publicity surrounding his every action and utterance, and Rooney hit the headlines again last week when he injured one of his few senior players, Republic of Ireland midfielder Jason Knight, during training.
Having stepped into the dugout following Philip Cocu's departure last year, Rooney lead his youthful team to just 44 points from 46 Championship matches to finish down in 21st spot in the second-tier standings. Circumstances make it difficult for his ambitions to rise much higher this year, though.
A quartet of friendly encounters, with Manchester United, Salford City, Real Betis and Notts County, resulted in two wins and two losses for Derby's mix-and-match side over the past few weeks, but now the serious competition begins - with the Rams hoping to repeat February's home win against their rivals on Saturday.
Huddersfield finished only one place above this weekend's hosts back in May, so were pleased to get the 2021-22 campaign off to a positive start last weekend, when they overcame Sheffield Wednesday in a penalty shootout to make the second round of the Carabao Cup.
That will have come as a relief for head coach Carlos Corberan - who joined the Terriers from fellow West Yorkshire side Leeds United after helping them gain promotion to the Premier League - following back-to-back friendly losses in the previous week.
Defeats to Norwich City and Fleetwood Town did come after two victories over lower-league opposition, though, so Huddersfield should have the edge when it comes to match-sharpness at Pride Park.
It has certainly not been a stress-free summer for Corberan, as absences due to COVID-19 and various injury problems have limited his options, but goalkeeper Lee Nicholls has impressed in the warm-up games and emerged as a penalty shootout hero against Wednesday.
Town conceded the most goals in the division last season, so it should come as little surprise that they have brought in several new defensive bodies during the summer break. With Nicholls now a strong contender to usurp first-choice Ryan Schofield, he could be lining up behind a radically overhauled rearguard on Saturday, as his team seek to start with a rare clean sheet at Derby.
Derby come into the season opener having seen senior players including Jack Marriott, Scott Malone and Martyn Waghorn move on this summer, while no new signings have been confirmed - though contracts have apparently been offered to several trialists.
Among the possible late additions to Wayne Rooney's callow squad are experienced campaigners Ravel Morrison, Sone Aluko, Sam Baldock, Richard Stearman and Phil Jagielka, who have all been involved in the Rams' training camp of late. Given the situation, a youthful XI may feature Dylan Williams and Isaac Hutchinson.
By contrast, Huddersfield have several options to select from, after bolstering their squad in recent weeks - with veteran striker Jordan Rhodes and Luton centre-back Matty Pearson signing on the dotted line.
In the absence of Isaac Mbenza and Rolando Aarons from several of Town's pre-season games, former Boreham Wood winger Sorba Thomas has impressed and could feature on Saturday. However, the former pair are believed to be available this weekend.
Meanwhile, head coach Carlos Corberan is apparently still deliberating on whether to reinstate regular goalkeeper Ryan Schofield, after Lee Nicholls showed up well since arriving from MK Dons.
Derby County possible starting lineup:
Roos; Cashin, Forsyth, Williams, Buchanan; Sibley, Shinnie, Bird; Lawrence, Jozwiak; Kazim-Richards
Huddersfield Town possible starting lineup:
Nicholls; Turton, Pearson, Colwill, Toffolo; O'Brien, Hogg, Sinani; Koroma, Ward, Holmes
We say: Derby County 1-2 Huddersfield Town
Whichever team Derby field to start their Championship challenge, they will not have been able to knit together in time, so defeat is the expected result when Pride Park opens its doors to the public once again.
Though Huddersfield's recruitment has been modest due to financial constraints, the Terriers have a handful of players that can cause problems for the home side and a remodelled defence can hardly fare worse than last season.
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