Preston North End vs. Derby County
The Rams face Preston on Tuesday night in Lancashire on the back of two excellent home results against Reading and West Brom respectively. Whilst home results are important, Nigel Clough's team simply must stop the atrocious away form, and the Derby boss has stated his attacking intentions and his side will line up 4-4-2 against Alan Irvine's Lilywhites, who have won only one in their last 10 fixtures. That said, Preston will surely fancy themselves against a team without a goal on the road in the last four games. Something has to give in this fixture, one terrible run has to end...unless it's a draw.
Speaking on the recently injured duo's (Shaun Barker and Paul Green) chances of making the game, Clough told the official website that he wasn't sure if they would feature or not: 'Barker I would say probably won't be ready,' said Clough, 'Green has a chance of playing; he just felt his hamstring on Friday in training which was very tight. He has the best chance, but we will assess him and have to see.' Preston boss Alan Irvine Irvine told the Lancashire Evening Post: 'I don't know if people expect us to win these games [Derby and Cardiff] but we certainly need to make sure we do our work and preparation properly.' He added: 'I think we can still win games in this division. When we are at our best we can beat anybody. But the nature of the Championship is that it is extremely difficult to win games and you have to be playing well.'
Scottish winger Gary Teale wants The Rams to build on their excellent home form: 'We've picked up a bit of momentum from these two games (Reading and West Brom),' Teale told Rams Player, 'If we had lost on Saturday everyone would have been a bit low, but a win and a draw from the last two hopefully sets us up well for Preston and Watford. We want to put the away form right now, and with the confidence we've got from these games.'
Preston North End Team News:
There are no new injuries for Alan Irvine to contend with. Long term absentee Barry Nicholson isn't available, and neither is ex-Ram Youl Mawene.
Player to watch: Ross Wallace
Winger Wallace scored against The Rams in Roy Keane's first game as a manager in his time at Sunderland as they beat Derby 2-1 at Pride Park. The Scottish international has an excellent pedigree when it comes to set pieces, so the Derby defence will have to avoid giving away any free kicks to allow him to showcase his talent.
Derby County Team News:
Shaun Barker joins Kris Commons, Chris Porter, Giles Barnes, Steven Davies, Mitch Hanson, Mark O'Brien and Ruben Zadkovich on the sidelines. Paul Green may return to the team after a hamstring problem.
Player to watch: Paul Dickov
On loan Leicester City striker Paul Dickov should get a rare away start after Nigel Clough indicated he would opt for a 4-4-2 formation against PNE. He will be looking to earn a longer deal and if he continues to play like he is doing, it will be hard to turn him away.
Match Facts & Stats
Last 5: Derby County
West Brom (h) 2-2
Reading (h) 2-1
Swansea City (a) 0-1
Coventry City (h) 2-1
Ipswich Town (a) 0-1
Last 5: Preston
Cardiff City (a) 0-1
Blackpool (a) 1-1
Newcastle United (h)0-1
Watford (a) 0-2
Crystal Palace (h) 1-1
Watford vs. Derby County, Saturday 12 December 2009 15:00, The Coca-Cola Football League Championship