This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Derby County travel to Preston North End tonight in what is a huge match in the context of their campaign and there will be a huge amount of pressure on the Rams heading into the game.
Wayne Rooney’s side have lost their last three Championship matches following their 2-1 loss at Blackburn Rovers last time, as they surrendered a 1-0 lead to drop precious points. The Rams, as a result, are right back into the thick of the relegation battle and if it was not for Rotherham United dropping points against Coventry City and Birmingham City they could be in an even worse position.
As things stand, Derby are sat four points clear of the Millers but the Yorkshire club also have two games in hand on them. That means that at the moment, it is not in the Rams’ hands in terms of whether they end up in the bottom three or not and they are relying on Paul Warne’s slide not being able to win those matches in hand.
The Rams will be feeling they need to get back to winning ways against a Preston side with little left to play for in the league. That means the pressure will all be on them heading into the game. It will be interesting to see how they manage to cope with that pressure at Deepdale.
Ahead of what is a massive game for Derby, we asked our FLW writers if they believe it is a must-win match for the Rams…
I think that it’s definitely a must-win game for the Rams – especially with Rotherham and their games in hand situation.
Should Derby lose tonight then it gives the Millers a huge chance to close the gap to one point if they beat Middlesbrough tomorrow – and with the way Neil Warnock’s men are playing recently that’s a massive possibility.
Recent Rams performances though won’t give fans any confidence that they can go to Deepdale and get a result though – they’ve won just one of their last 11 outings, scoring just seven times in the process and even though North End conceded five against Brentford last week, their other three matches under Frankie McAvoy has seen them let in just one goal.
Rooney will no doubt be drumming into his players how important this match is and if they don’t win tonight I really fear for their survival chances.
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It certainly seems that way!
Derby County have had a disastrous season with off-field matters seemingly having a big impact on how things have panned out on the pitch.
I don’t think anyone expected Wayne Rooney’s side to be where they are, but the table doesn’t lie.
The Rams will be anxiously looking over their shoulders here and you’d think that a victory over Preston is needed to give themselves some breathing room.
After all, you wouldn’t put it past Rotherham to get a result.
Absolutely, there’s no room for slip-ups now for the Rams and they have to get back to winning ways.
Rotherham still have their all-important games in hand and there is still work to do to avoid being overtaken by the Millers.
Preston have nothing to play for and arguably presents a very good chance to take maximum points.
Rooney and co have to show that they are good enough to remain in the Championship and they must not take their collective foot off the gas.