Derby County host Preston North End at Pride Park on Boxing Day.

The Rams, despite remaining 22nd in the Championship table, have presided over a six-game unbeaten run under sole interim manager Wayne Rooney.

Confidence is high in the east Midlands, and Derby go into the Preston clash knowing they boast a formidable recent record over their upcoming opponents.

(Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images).

Derby have gone 14 Championship games without defeat against Preston, while Alex Neil’s side haven’t won a league game at Pride Park since 2002.

Here is how we believe Derby will line up:

The back five of goalkeeper David Marshall, Nathan Byrne, Andre Wisdom, Matt Clarke and Lee Buchanan were excellent last time out in the 2-0 win over Swansea City.

The Rams haven’t conceded a goal in four straight games. There seems no reason for Rooney to alter things, despite Craig Forsyth being another option at left-back.

The midfield three of Krystian Bielik, Jason Knight and Graeme Shinnie is full of energy and endeavour. When on form, they can dominate and overrun their opponents.

 

Max Bird is another option, but he may find it tough getting back in.

Where Derby may consider changes is in the final third. Kamil Jozwiak and Colin Kazim-Richards will surely retain their places, but the final spot is up for grabs.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images).

Tom Lawrence remains a doubt due to the ankle injury he picked up against Stoke City. Duane Holmes, meanwhile, has struggled for form this season.

Martyn Waghorn provides another physical option out wide, and he may get the nod against Preston having scored the winner during last season’s fixture at Pride Park.

Also see: Expert says ‘nuisance’ forward Derby shelved has PL potential, could face Rams on Boxing Day

Also see: ‘There’s a chance’: International wanted by Derby and Boro open to joining Championship club

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