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

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

Derby County's relegation fears have intensified in recent weeks and the Rams travel to Preston North End on Tuesday in desperate need of a win.

Wayne Rooney's side have four games left to play in the Championship and are only four points above the bottom three, with 22nd-placed Rotherham United holding two games in hand.

Match preview

Derby County's Colin Kazim-Richards celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 30, 2021© Reuters

Rooney appeared to be steering Derby away from the relegation zone after being confirmed as the club's permanent manager, with the Rams going on a run of five wins in six matches in January and February.

However, since then their form has suffered a severe downturn, and they have now won just one of their last 11 matches; it is quite the contrast to the club's prospective new owner Erik Alonso claiming his "eventual goal" is to take Derby to the Champions League.

They took the lead through Tom Lawrence away at Blackburn Rovers on Friday night but ended up losing 2-1 – their third successive defeat – as Rooney blamed "unacceptable" refereeing.

However, the strugglers will have been pleased to see Rotherham concede late on against Birmingham City on Sunday and lose 1-0.

The Rams have not won away from home since mid-February against bottom club Wycombe Wanderers, while they stand as the Championship's lowest scorers this season with just 31 goals to their name from 42 games.

Derby still have to play fellow strugglers Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday, as well as promotion chasers Swansea City, but a trip to a Preston side with nothing to play for has to be seen as a big opportunity for three points.

Ched Evans in action for Preston North End in February 2021© Reuters

The Lilywhites won this season's reverse fixture on Boxing Day, as Alan Browne scored a stunning 96th-minute winner; it was their first league victory over Derby since 2008.

Preston have only won five times in 21 outings since that game, with Alex Neil losing his job in March as a result of their poor form.

Frankie McAvoy has taken temporary charge and earned five points from four games; an unspectacular 0-0 draw against Stoke City on Saturday was a solid defensive response to conceding five against Brentford the previous weekend.

The Lancashire side are almost mathematically safe from relegation, sitting 17th and 10 points clear of the drop, but they will be keen to simply get this campaign finished as quickly as possible.

Preston have only won one of their last 10 games at Deepdale and only Rotherham have picked up fewer points at home this season, while 16 goals from 21 matches is the third-lowest home return in the division.

Preston North End Championship form:
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D

Derby County Championship form:
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L

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Team News

Derby County's manager Wayne Rooney before the match on March 6, 2021© Reuters

Preston will welcome back Liam Lindsay into the back three after the Scot was ineligible to face parent club Stoke City on Saturday, which should see Sepp van den Berg move out to right wing-back.

Sean Maguire made his return from time on the sidelines as a substitute against the Potters but could start on Tuesday alongside Ched Evans upfront.

Evans, who signed a new two-year contract at Deepdale last week, has not scored in eight appearances – his longest drought since joining Preston in January.

Manchester United loanee Teden Mengi missed Derby's defeat to Blackburn with a hamstring injury and will be absent again on Tuesday night.

Of Derby's current injured crop, Rooney claimed that the only one in with a chance of playing on Tuesday was Martyn Waghorn, who has missed the last three games.

In search of goals and a win, Rooney may pair Waghorn with Colin Kazim-Richards, who was dropped to the bench against Blackburn.

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Iversen; Storey, Lindsay, Hughes; Van Den Berg, Whiteman, Ledson, Cunningham; Browne; Evans, Maguire

Derby County possible starting lineup:
Marshall; Byrne, Wisdom, Clarke, Forsyth; Roberts, Bird, Shinnie, Lawrence; Kazim-Richards, Waghorn

SM words green background

We say: Preston North End 1-1 Derby County

Coming up against an inconsistent side with nothing to play for, Derby would hope to take all three points from this one, but it is unlikely to be that straightforward. Their away record is a big concern, while being in a rut at this stage of this season is hard to get out of. Preston have also shown more fight since Neil left his post, so we are backing a draw.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data

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Derby County's manager Wayne Rooney before the match on March 6, 2021
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