Date:Friday December 31 2010
After the disastrous 5-2 thumping at the hands of East Midlands rivals Derby have an immediate chance to get back to winning ways against a Preston North End side who are in turmoil after the sacking of manager Darren Ferguson, the recall of four loan players in the past week, and the rumoured imminent sale of Jon Parkin to Cardiff City. Hopefully this is the best time to play the side rooted to the bottom of the table, and the side can emulate the 2-1 win at Deepdale on New Years Day during the promotion season under Billy Davis four years ago.
Rams boss Nigel Clough is glad about the return of Chris Porter to the starting line-up, but is still clearly frustrated about Wednesday's debacle: 'It was good to get Chris on again in the Forest game and he will start at Preston,' said manager Nigel Clough.
'He is looking stronger and when he came on, he put in our best cross of the game when he slid the ball across the six-yard box.
'It was something our Republic of Ireland midfielder (Paul Green) failed to do in his three attempts and Dean Leacock in the one attempt he had to put the ball into a dangerous area.'
Preston striker Chris Brown, who has just returner from a long spell on the sidelines has insisted his side can beat The Rams: 'Derby won't fancy coming to face us at the moment; we are a wounded animal and have got to make sure that we are at it from the start. If we can not let them play, we will be looking to get a couple of goals and get that much needed win.' It may have escaped Brown's attention that Derby are about as wounded as an animal could get.
Iain Hume is not eligible for the game as he has only just signed a deal at Preston having previously been on loan from Barnsley. North End are unlikely to play the apparently soon to be sold Jon Parkin leaving them with real problems in the striking department. Man United loanees Josh King and Ritchie de Laet have been recalled, as have Stoke's Michael Tonge and Danny Pugh. Leon Cort's loan deal at the club has ended so the Deepdale outfit are seriously depleted. Chris Brown could return to the Preston side after a spell on the sidelines.
Keeper Lonergan is the club's incumbent player of the season and has been in good form this season despite The Lilywhites' lowly league position.
Robbie Savage comes back for a vital game and could prove to be key in propelling The Rams to, at the very least, a better performance. Dean Moxey is banned after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Forest and fellow left back Garth Roberts is also a doubt with a calf injury. Luke Moore has returned to West Brom so Chris Porter will make his first league start in eight months.
Rarely has it been so obvious that Savage is so important to the Derby side as during the battering at Forest. He adds passion and grit and heart, qualities blatantly lacking on Wednesday night.
Norwich City (h) 1-2
Bristol City (a) 0-2
Reading (h) 1-2
Nottingham Forest (a) 2-5
Preston North End:
Queens Park Rangers (a) 1-3
Millwall (h) 0-0
Cardiff City (a) 1-1
Ipswich Town (h) 1-0
Middlesbrough (h) 1-3
Derby County vs. Millwall, Mon 3rd January, 17:45pm, The Championship
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Date:Friday December 31 2010
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