Preston North End will want to put history behind them for Derby County trip

Neil Mellor scores in the closing minutes from the spot as PNE win 4-1 in the FA Cup.
Neil Mellor scores in the closing minutes from the spot as PNE win 4-1 in the FA Cup.

Preston North End will be going to Derby County this weekend looking to prove their track record wrong and get what will be a very welcome three points.

PNE have history with Derby as the two met in the play-off semi finals back in 2005, but since the Lilywhites got the better of their Championship counterparts, little has gone their way.

Paul McKenna reaches to congratulate Jon Parkin who scored alongside Sean St Ledger in a 2-0 win in 2008.

Paul McKenna reaches to congratulate Jon Parkin who scored alongside Sean St Ledger in a 2-0 win in 2008.

Preston won the first leg of the play-offs 2-0 at Deepdale, and since then they have played the Rams 21 times, starting with the 0-0 draw at Pride Park to secure North End's place in Cardiff at the play-off final.

In the subsequent games, PNE have won just twice, the first in the FA Cup - 4-1 thanks to goals from Simon Whaley, Karl Hawley (x2) and Neil Mellor, with ex-North Ender Claude Davis getting his marching orders.

The second win came in 2008, on Boxing Day, a 2-0 win with goals from Sean St Ledger and Jon Parkin. The side that started that game would be very recognisable to North End fans, with a smattering of club legends: Andrew Lonergan, Billy Jones, Youl Mawene, St Ledger, Callum Davidson, Chris Sedgwick, Paul McKenna, Richard Chaplow, Ross Wallace, Parkin and Neil Mellor.

Preston will also be looking to end a 12-game winless run that began in 2009.

Alex Neil's first loss as manager coming against the Rams in August 2017, Matej Vydra scored a penalty just short of the hour mark, with Paul Huntington dragging his man down from a corner.

That defeat - or specifically, penalty - also started the change in defensive approach for Neil at corners, switching to zonal marking from then on, which has worked a treat so far.

One particular streak you would expect PNE to break is their goal scoring record of late against Saturday's hosts, Preston have scored just once in the last seven encounters with County.

Neil's men have 31 goals in 16 games this campaign making them the top scorers in the league; they are also amongst the best in the league in general attacking play with Cardiff the only side to have spent a greater percentage of their time in the opposition third.