Neil senses a Rams system change

Tom Huddlestone faces a fitness test for Derby
Tom Huddlestone faces a fitness test for Derby

Alex Neil will keep a lookout for a formation change from Derby County when he takes Preston North End to Pride Park tonight.

The Rams have played a 4-3-3 system under a number of their managers for the last few years.

It is a trend Gary Rowett has continued but he has switched formations in the second half of both of their league games this term.

PNE boss Neil told the Post: “Knowing Gary for the last few seasons and having played against his teams, they have played with two up front or one with one behind.

“The 4-3-3 is relatively quite different for him in terms of how he wants to play.

“It wouldn’t be a surprise if they come away from a 4-3-3 at some stage.

“I think Derby have been hard-wired for such a long time to play 4-3-3.

“They might stick with it against us but I’m not sure.

“I think it will be an interesting game and it is one I’m looking forward to.”

After Derby’s 2-0 home defeat to Wolves on Saturday, Rowett said: “I know it is only early and while I have got incredible belief in the group, we might have to make changes to see if we can do something different.

“We have tended to look better in games when we have played with more attackers on the pitch rather than the three midfielders.”

The Rams will run the rule over the fitness of Tom Huddlestone.

The big-money signing from Hull struggled with a groin injury against Wolves, Rowett believing it took the edge off his passing game.