Preston slipped to just a fourth league defeat of the season on Saturday, losing 1-0 at Derby County.
North End fell flat at Pride Park, with Martyn Waghorn’s first half goal enough to hand the Rams all three points. Tom Barkhuizen did have the ball in the net, but his potential equaliser was ruled out for offside.
In truth, this game was the worst possible mix for North End. Preston’s record at Derby is truly woeful, with the record now just two wins in the last 22 meetings, and no win at Pride Park since January 2008.
Add in that North End tend to lose straight after international breaks, and this game was just the worst of both worlds. It didn’t exactly help that things just seemed to go against Alex Neil.
Neil made two changes at half time after a poor first half showing; Darnell Fisher was hooked for Paul Gallagher, whilst Jayden Stockley was replaced by Billy Bodin. That left just one change to make, and the plan was for David Nugent to face his former club.
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Nugent left Derby at the end of last season, and Neil may have hoped for the veteran to make an impact late on given how well he knows some of those Rams players.
Unfortunately, Nugent was prevented from making his Pride Park return because of a Ben Davies injury. Neil confirmed that he was going to bring on Nugent for Daniel Johnson, but he was forced to use his final substitution on replacing Davies with Jordan Storey, meaning Nugent was robbed of that appearance against his former club.