Derby County are once again struggling to keep apace with the top six in the Championship and a potential promotion to the Premier League looks set to elude them once again. Some ten points separate the Rams from the play-off places as we head into tonight’s round of fixtures and perhaps the best that Steve McClaren’s men can realistically hope for is a finish in the top half of the Championship table.
Given Derby’s recent inconsistencies this should be just about possible, however they need to string together a decent winning run. They can start by securing all three points when they welcome Preston North End to Pride Park this evening
The Rams head into tonight’s clash on the back of a 2-1 win at home to Barnsley on Saturday afternoon, however this much-needed victory ended a winless run of five Championship outings and as such Derby have fallen from possible play-off candidates to just another mid-table also-ran.
Preston North End are in a similar position in that they pose no realistic threat to the play-off places. Simon Grayson’s men sit a single point above the Rams but they too have been something of a mixed bag, especially on their travels. Preston have failed to win any of their last five away games in the Championship and this doesn’t exactly bode well ahead of their visit to Pride Park tonight. Indeed Derby have been particularly solid at home this season with just a solitary defeat since September and it is hard to make a strong case for the visitors tonight.
Derby County look good value at Evens to collect all three points this evening but this will do little to enhance their chances of reaching the now-distant play-off places.