Derby County have found their form ahead of the clash with Preston North End at Deepdale

Four victories on the spin have turned Derby County from mid-table plodders into play-off contenders ahead of their clash with Preston North End.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 12:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 5:37 pm

The Rams will arrive at Deepdale on Wednesday teatime (5pm) as one of the division’s in-form teams, that in contrast to PNE who have found the going tough either side of lockdown.

On February 25, after a 2-1 defeat at QPR, Derby were back in 14th place.

Before football closed down for three months, they hit back by beating Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn.

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Wayne Rooney with Derby team-mate Martyn Waghorn

Since the restart, they have won against Millwall and Reading.

The 2-1 win over Reading on Saturday was secured by two goals in a minute before half-time from Tom Lawrence and Wayne Rooney.

However, Lawrence is ruled out of the trip to Deepdale, though, having been sent off after the final whistle following a clash with Reading defender Matt Miazga.

Lawrence is Derby’s second highest scorer with 10 league goals, two behind Martyn Waghorn.

Derby's Tom Lawrence is sent-off after the final whistle against Reading on Saturday

Rams boss Phillip Cocu issued a stern rebuke to Wales international Lawrence for the red card, the fact it came after he had scored in the game proving very frustrating.

Cocu said: "He (Lawrence) scored a fantastic goal. No doubt about his quality as a player, and also his work ethic for the team

"When you get mature and get older you have to learn and deal with your mistakes, and make sure it doesn't happen again.

"I am really disappointed it (the red card) has happened, especially when you get a win, and you get a goal.

I don't care what the defender does to you. I think you can even laugh about it.

"We should be happy after he game, but I am really not happy."

Rooney’s penalty against Reading was his fifth goal in league and cup since arriving from DC United.

Derby and North End are neck and neck in the play-off race, level on points, with Alex Neil’s men having slightly the better goal difference.

It is the same scenario PNE and Cardiff were in ahead of last Saturday's clash at Deepdale.

Hopefully this time it is a better outcome for the Lilywhites.