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Preview: Derby County vs. Preston North End - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Derby County and Preston North End, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Derby County welcome Preston North End to Pride Park on Boxing Day as they look to put consecutive wins together for the first time this season.

Wayne Rooney's side are currently stuck in the relegation zone, but a win against Preston could see them climb out of the bottom three.

Match preview

Derby County manager Wayne Rooney pictured in December 2020© Reuters

The Rams have managed to turn their fortunes around since England's leading goalscorer was handed the reins following Phillip Cocu's sacking in November.

Derby were marooned at the foot of the table when the Dutchman was relieved of his duties after picking up just one win from their opening 11 matches.

Rooney was named as the 'senior figure' with coaches Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker also providing support.

After losing their first two outings under the setup, the new management team has overseen a string of good results in recent weeks.

A 2-0 win over third-placed Swansea City last time out made it six games unbeaten for Derby, who have also recorded four consecutive clean sheets.

Rooney's Rams will be fresh coming into this one after their relegation six-pointer with Rotherham United was called off, and they will be confident of extending their good form against Preston.

Preston are enjoying some mid-table obscurity at the moment, with 26 points from their 20 Championship matches, leaving them in 15th position.

Alex Neil's side narrowly missed out on the playoff places in 2019-20, but it seems as though a promotion push may be too big of an ask for the Lilywhites this time around.

Former Manchester City and Celtic winger Scott Sinclair arrived at Deepdale in the summer and has hit the ground running at his new club.

Seven goals so far this season make the 31-year-old the club's top scorer, and Derby will have to contain his threat in order to get a good result on Saturday.

A 1-0 win over Bristol City on Friday put back-to-back defeats behind them and will have restored Preston's belief going into the festive period.

Derby County Championship form: DDWDDW

Preston North End Championship form: WDWLLW

Team News

Preston North End's Emil Riis Jakobsen celebrates scoring against Middlesbrough in the Championship on December 9, 2020© Reuters

Rooney should have a fully fit squad to choose from, with experienced centre-back Curtis Davies expected to return to the squad following an Achilles injury.

Derby are the league's lowest scorers after finding the back of the net on just 10 occasions to date. If they are to continue their rise up the table, then the likes of Colin Kazim-Richards and Martyn Waghorn will need to get back amongst the goals on a regular basis.

Preston also have the luxury of choice with no injuries to report ahead of the congested schedule.

Jayden Stockley has struggled to make an impact since arriving almost two years ago and will be hoping some good fortune over the Christmas period can reignite his Preston career.

Derby County possible starting lineup:
Marshall; McDonald, Wisdom, Clarke, Forsyth; Bielik, Shinnie; Lawrence, Knight, Jozwiak; Kazim-Richards

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Fisher, Davies, Hughes, Earl; Browne, Bayliss; Barkhuizen, Johnson, Sinclair; Stockley

SM words green background

We say: Derby County 1-0 Preston North End

Derby are usually involved in low scoring affairs, and this one will likely be no different. Preston do travel well, but with the Rams currently enjoying a recent revival and an extra few days of rest, Rooney's side could come away with the three points over the weekend.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

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Derby County's Wayne Rooney pictured in October 2020
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