Derby have found things tough at the beginning of the season, with two tricky ties giving them just one point from their opening games. Preston on the other hand have managed to pick up four points from their opening two games, which were equally as difficult. They should head to Derby full of confidence, although it will be another tough game for them.
This is Derby’s best chance of a victory so far and they will be desperate to pick up three points to get their season underway. They have faced two tough games, but this is different and they need to get their season going with a win.
Tough games against Sunderland and Wolves have made the start to the season tough for Derby. They have picked up one point away from home against Sunderland, but were outclassed in their home game with Wolves on Saturday. On that performance there is no way Derby are going to challenge for promotion this season, they will be desperate to prove otherwise.
This game is easier and gives them the opportunity to pick up a much needed three points, although Preston will head here full of confidence after their start. A win will get Derby going, but another game without a victory will put even more pressure on them in the coming weeks.
Preston faced two tough Yorkshire rivals in their opening two games and to my surprise they finished with four points. They followed up a great home win against Sheffield Wednesday with a good point away at Leeds to keep them unbeaten.
In those two games they have also managed to keep two clean sheets, beating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 and drawing 0-0 at Leeds. That shows how hard they are to break down and if they set up at Derby like they did at Leeds, I think Derby are going to struggle to break them down, just like Leeds did.
Those two performances will have given them hope that they can have a very good season, and they will want to keep their unbeaten run going in this one. Derby is a tough place to visit, but Preston will head here full of confidence and hopeful that they can take at least one point home with them.
Derby are going to need all their creative players on the top of their game if they are to break down Preston in this one. That means Chris Martin, Johnny Russell, Andreas Weimann and Jacob Butterfield all coming together and trying to break down the Preston defence. Leeds failed to do it at the weekend, Derby have the task this weekend.
Preston have been very impressive in defence during both of their games and their centre half partnership of Tommy Spurr and Paul Huntington will remain key for them. Midfielder Ben Pearson will be unavailable for this game after being sent off in the game against Leeds at the weekend.
I assume that Preston are going to set up here quite defensively, although they have not scored a goal from open play themselves yet and need to improve that. This may not be the game to try and be more attacking, but at some point they are going to have to.
Top Betting Tips
This game is going to come down to whether or not Derby are capable of breaking Preston down and I don’t believe that they are. After two tough games, this will be easier for Derby but I still think they are going to struggle against the tough defence of Preston. The start so far has been very good for Preston, they have set up very well and picked up four very good points against two very good teams. That makes me think they can pick up a point in this game as well so I am going to back the draw here. This is available at 5/2 with Ladbrokes and looks to be the sensible bet in this one.
With my thought being that Derby are going to struggle to break Preston down, I am also going to back the score line 0-0, which is an outcome I believe could happen with the way Preston play. A 0-0 draw can be backed at 8/1 with William Hill and SkyBet, which is a bigger priced outcome but one that looks like it could happen given how this game is likely to play out. I am expecting a tight game in this one, with the draw a possibility if Preston can defend well again.