Preston delivered a resilient performance to make itsix6 games without a win now for Paul Clement and his Derby side, putting another dent in their automatic promotion hopes.
The now sit five and six points behind the top two, having played more games than both Middlesbrough and Hull, and the dream of promotion to the Premier League seems to be slipping ever further away from them.
Preston on the other hand were resilient in their performance, and will be more than happy with a point which helps them climb to 14th in the table and now surely safe from any relegation battle they might have expected to be part of at the start of the season.
Derby are now only three points above seventh and eighth place, and need a win soon if they are to keep challenging.
Here, I take a look at THREE things we learnt from last night’s game at the iPro Stadium….
1) A case of Deja Vu?
Last season Derby were firmly on for automatic promotion, and completely fell apart during the final 12 games of the season, and ended up finishing outside of the play-off positions all together.
Surely this cannot happen again under Paul Clement? Derby sit closer to being outside the play-off places than they do to being in the automatic spots, and fans will be starting to get nervous once again.
Clement has spent big since taking over in the summer and anything else other than promotion will be deemed a failure. He needs to get his charges back to winning ways if he is to claim that all important promotion in his first managerial year.
2) What is up with Blackman?
Nick Blackman was on fire at Reading, leading the goal charts for the Royals before being snapped up by Derby at the start of the transfer window.
But things have not gone to plan for the former Blackburn man, as he has failed to hit the target in each of his games since he made the move.
With plenty of options for Clement to choose from, Blackman could soon find himself out of the team and fighting for his place if he doesn’t start to deliver the goods soon.
3) Solid Preston
Preston clearly came with a game plan to keep tight and frustrate the home side, and it worked a treat.
Simon Grayson had had his players well drilled on the task at hand, and they stuck to his game plan professionally and efficiently to snatch a point.
Points like this are the reason many teams stay up, and this is another prime example of a team with a lesser budget competing with the big boys in the league.
Preston should be safe from relegation now, and Grayson will hope to plan for next season knowing he has a solid grounding in place.