Sky Sports pundit David Prutton has predicted Derby to continue their recent revival under Wayne Rooney when the Rams host Preston North End on Boxing Day.
Since becoming interim manager following the sacking of Philip Coco, the former England captain has guided the East Midlands outfit to six matches without defeat.
Despite their form, their recent postponement against Rotherham United last weekend mean they spent Christmas inside the bottom-three, although with the Millers once more not in action on Saturday, avoiding defeat here will be enough for Rooney’s men to climb out of the drop-zone.
Meanwhile, Alex Neil’s Preston are continuing to struggle for consistency, although their victory over Bristol City in their last game at least eased any growing pressure on the Scot’s shoulders.
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The Whites begin the weekend seven points and nine places behind the top-six, but with a kind run of fixtures over the festive period, some quickfire victories could see their league position improve dramatically in the coming days.
However, despite having one of the best away record in the Championship, Prutton thinks that Rooney’s team will record a slender 1-0 success here.
You’d be a brave person to bet against Preston on the road given they’ve already won at the likes of Brentford, Reading and Bournemouth already this season, but Neil’s side have generally fared badly against teams at the bottom of the table.
Preston have lost their previous two at Luton and Barnsley on their travels and if Rooney’s men perform even close to how they did against Swansea last time out, they’ll have more than enough to collect another vital three points.