DERBY, England (AFP) - Derby manager Paul Jewell is convinced his side have a bright future despite their embarrassing FA Cup exit against Championship strugglers Preston.
Jewell's side lie bottom of the Premier League with only one win and already look destined for relegation. Now they can add a dismal 4-1 defeat in the fourth round on Saturday to their list of ignominious results.
Preston are slumbering at the foot of English football's second tier but they totally out-classed the Rams thanks to two Karl Hawley goals either side of Simon Whaley's effort before Neil Mellor's late penalty.
Robert Earnshaw's second half goal was no consolation for Derby, who were jeered off by their frustrated fans.
But Jewell remains hopeful that the club's new American owners will provide the investment needed to rebuild the Rams.
"One of the reasons I came here was that hopefully there was going to be some American investment coming in," Jewell said.
"I have spoken to the investors on a couple of occasions and met them in Manchester so they know it's a tough job. They know what a state the team is in at the moment.
"They, like me, see the bigger picture and the bigger picture here is if we get it right it will take off.
"We had a great season last year. It hasn't happened this season but I'm hoping I'll be sat here in a year telling you about the tough times last year that hopefully made not just me stronger, but the club stronger."
Alan Irvine's men had won two of their last three matches, whereas Derby hadn't won in 19 matches. The disparity in confidence was clear as Preston took control from the start.
"We felt as if we had a chance," Irvine said. "There's no way we felt that we were favourites coming into the game.
"We knew that if we could keep a solid shape and that if we could be clinical when we got chances then we would have a chance of winning the game.
"But there's no way I thought beforehand that I would be sitting here talking about a 4-1 win.
"I felt right from the beginning of the game we controlled the possession. We passed the ball well."
Andy Todd was caught in possession by Chris Brown in the Derby penalty area and he teed up Hawley to slot home a clinical finish in the 13th minute.
Despite Robbie Savage's return, Derby lacked the aggression to compete with their fired-up opponents.
They could have been further behind when Paul McKenna blazed over from the edge of the area.
Savage curled a free-kick wide as Derby finally threatened but it was a short-lived revival. Preston were picking the Rams apart with sweeping counter-attacks and they increased their lead in the 33rd minute.
Hawley surged down the right wing and found Darren Carter on the edge of area. His pass found Whaley in space and the midfielder curled his low shot inside the right post.
Derby were in disarray and the killer blow was delivered on the stroke of half time.
Once again Jewell's team had only themselves to blame. Hawley punished another mistake from Todd and tucked the ball inside the right post.
Derby have been taken over by a group of American investors but they must have been thinking twice about the investment after this horror-show.
Earnshaw gave them brief hope of comeback when he broke the offside trap to convert Kenny Miller's pass in the 55th minute.
Savage had a chance when he found himself alone at the far post but his close-range effort was well saved by Andy Lonergan. That was as good as it got for Derby. They never threatend again and Mellor added a fourth in stoppage time.
Lewin Nyatanga was shown a straight red for a professional foul on Mellor, who picked himself up to fire the spot-kick low into the right corner.
|Ligue 1 Preview: Paris Saint-Germain v Lille|
|UAE Pro League Wrap: Al Ahli extend lead, Al Shaab earn rare win|
|Lambert seeks more Villa away success|
|Sunderland will have ´no excuses´ for Norwich failure, says Poyet|
|Hughton hails Poyet impact|
|Pardew anticipating difficult Palace clash|
|UEFA provisionally ban three clubs from European competition|
|La Liga Preview: Valencia v Real Madrid|
|Valdes to keep new club quiet|
|Allardyce urges West Ham to expose United frailties|
|Bruce bemoans Brady injury|
|Laudrup rules out Tottenham switch|
|Premier League Preview: Swansea City v Everton|
|Benitez is ´a lucky charm´, says De Laurentiis|
|Stoke wait on Shawcross fitness|
|Koscielny to miss out on Chelsea clash|
|Liverpool owner hails Suarez deal as sign of club´s progress|
|Moyes reveals Nani setback|
|Schweinsteiger to return in January|
|Thohir not worried ahead of derby|
|Mourinho eyes defensive improvements|
|Pellegrini optimistic on Zabaleta return|
|Gourcuff reveals contract refusal|
|Suarez pens new long-term Liverpool deal|
|Klopp predicts tough Hertha battle|
|Dempsey has medical ahead of Fulham return|
|Bruce sympathetic to Mackay situation|
|A-League: Brisbane Roar 0 Newcastle Jets 2|
|Celtic´s Lustig set to miss four months|
|Messi blasts Barca official|
|Redknapp slams Villas-Boas´ signings|
|Atalanta out to continue home record|
|Phillips poised for January Palace exit|
|Dembele: Spurs ´positive´ about Sherwood appointment|
|Benitez predicts busy January at Napoli|
|Kerslake expects Mackay to be in charge for Liverpool game|
|Lowe given Glory role|
|Baines set for Everton return|
|Pedro keen on emulating Iniesta|
|Pochettino not interested in January purchases|
|Poyet calls for mid-season break|
|Iajour up for Bayern test|
|Martinez seeking ´short-term solutions´ in transfer window|
|Kompany urges City to remain focused|
|Rodgers glad he avoided Tottenham|
|Del Piero in line to take on Juventus in Australia|
|Copa del Rey Wrap: Valencia scrape through, Bilbao thrash Celta|
|Primeira Liga: Maritimo 2 Braga 2|
|Galliani to stay at Milan|
|Klopp plays down Club World Cup|
|Schalke coach Keller not fearing the sack|
|Wilshere loses appeal against two-match ban|
|Zaha on Pardew´s radar|
|Milan will be my final club, says Abbiati|
|Anigo to remain at Marseille helm for time being|
|Premier League Preview: West Brom v Hull City|
|No Bankia involvement in Bale deal, says Perez|
|Galliani wants stronger Milan youth system|
|Rafinha extends Bayern contract|
|Premier League Preview: Stoke City v Aston Villa|
|Poyet: No excuse not to perform|
|Vanishing spray to be used at World Cup|
|Gabbidon praises Palace strike pair|
|Premier League Preview: Manchester United v West Ham|
|Hughton calls for Norwich City to show character|
|Premier League Preview: Fulham v Manchester City|
|Samaras attracting Lazio interest|
|Premier League Preview: Liverpool v Cardiff City|
|Rodgers backs Mackay at Cardiff|
|Foster back fit and raring for West Brom recall|
|De Boer agent denies Tottenham contact|
|Premier League Preview: Crystal Palace v Newcastle United|
|Hungary appoint Pinter as new coach|
|Iniesta signs new Barca contract|
|Rodgers coy over Suarez talks|
|Jagielka hopes for fresh faces at Everton to help top-four push|
|A-League: Central Coast 1 Wellington 0|
|Spain end top of FIFA rankings for sixth year running|
|Allardyce disappointed to draw Manchester City|
|Pascoe hails ´unbelievable´ Suarez|
|Vorm knee surgery brought forward|
|Blanc hails Cavani brace|
|Michu wants Aspas to join Swansea City|
|Hoeness plays down Bayern treble suggestions|
|Dzeko confident he can fill Aguero void|
|Moyes: No loan offers for Zaha|
|Kiessling calls for Leverkusen response|
|Matuidi: Cavani on par with Ibrahimovic|
|Yeboah set to join Borussia Monchengladbach|
|Rooney a ´chance´ to face West Ham|
|FIFA Club World Cup Preview: Bayern Munich v Raja Casablanca|
|Benzarti praises ´extremely talented´ Raja Casablanca|
|Ranieri unsure over Falcao return|
|Coupe de La Ligue Wrap: Cavani leads PSG to dramatic win|
|Copa del Rey Wrap: Real Madrid through as Sevilla crash out|
|Tottenham job appeals to Sherwood|
|Sherwood gutted after defeat|
|Hughes: United worthy winners|
|Moyes pleased to see United weather storm|
|Allardyce hails West Ham fight|
|Coppa Italia: Juventus 3 Avellino 0|
|Manchester clubs kept apart in League Cup semi draw|
|League Cup: Tottenham 1 West Ham 2|
|League Cup: Stoke City 0 Manchester United 2|
|FIFA Club World Cup: Raja Casablanca 3 Atletico Mineiro 1|
|Sheffield Wednesday, Wigan abandoned due to heavy rain|
|United face anxious Rooney wait over injury|
|Messi making good progress|
|Ramos ban overturned|
|Osvaldo charged by FA|
|In-demand Ince offered new Blackpool deal|
|Molde confirm Solskjaer approaches|
|Kramer keen to continue home record|
|Rodgers: Henderson has potential to get even better|
|Ruiz on Anderlecht´s radar|
|Swansea, Hull fined by FA over player behaviour|
|Leeds keen on re-signing Gradel|
|Leverkusen announce Ryu deal|
|Ribery named Bundesliga Player of the Year|
|Moyes: No Zaha interest|
|Barcelona, Real Madrid in European Commission investigation|
|Basel: No Tottenham approach for Yakin|
|Chelsea set for Guarin bid, agent claims|
|Lewandowski has Dortmund goal concerns|
|Pogba, Pirlo will not sign before Christmas, says Marotta|
|Guardiola convinced to join Bayern after ´meat´ and greet|
|Martinez: Everton seen as a ´perfect´ loan destination|
|Anderlecht ´perfect´ for Defour, says Van Holsbeeck|
|Watford appoint Sannino|
|Sakho feels ´lucky´ to play with Suarez|
|Lippi: Too many teams competing in Club World Cup|
|Moyes ´told Welbeck to learn from Rooney´|
|I would kill myself over match-fixing, says Gattuso|
|Hughes dismisses calls for Januzaj protection|
|Aguero ´could miss up to two months´|
|Guardiola lauds Ballon d´Or nominee Ribery|
|Liverpool open Suarez contract talks|
|Copa del Rey Wrap: Barcelona, Levante cruise through|
|A-League Preview: Derby date beckons for winless Heart|
|Pearson upbeat despite Leicester defeat|
|Poyet urges Sunderland to build on Chelsea win|
|Mourinho rues missed chances|