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.
|Real Madrid heading to Australia for ICC|
|Martinez: Lukaku can become ´best striker in the world´|
|Koeman slams ´crazy´ Christmas fixture list|
|Iniesta, Vermaelen unavailable for Cyprus trip|
|Zenit v Benfica: Pereira, Lima set to return for Portuguese champions|
|Inzaghi sorry for derby stalemate|
|Colombian Primera A Review: Medellin on cusp of final, Santa Fe deny Huila|
|Mancini ´very happy´ with derby draw|
|Peruvian Primera Division Review: Sporting Cristal beaten|
|Liga del Futbol Profesional Boliviano Review: Late Blooming spark sends Oriente second|
|Venezuelan Primera Division Review: Trujillanos stay top, Metropolitanos embarrassed|
|Liga MX Review: Pachuca, Pumas UNAM reach play-offs|
|MLS Review: Wins for Galaxy, Revolution|
|Ecuadorian Primera A Review: Top three fail to score, Olmedo win big|
|Brazilian Serie A Review: Cruzeiro retain title|
|Chilean Primera Division Review: Universidad Chile held, Colo Colo go top|
|Costa Rican Primera Division Review: Cartagines into fourth|
|Uruguayan Primera Division Review: Champions Nacional win again|
|Ligue 1 Review: Marseille come from behind, Nantes extend unbeaten run|
|La Liga Review: Valencia suffer derby defeat, Rayo Vallecano beat Celta Vigo|
|Serie A Review: Mancini´s Inter rescue derby draw|
|Milan 1 Inter 1: Draw for Mancini on return|
|Pochettino wants home comforts|
|Bundesliga Review: Hamburg secure derby win, Stuttgart beaten again|
|Bruce disappointed with Vertonghen reaction|
|Eriksen backing Tottenham to kick on|
|Hull City 1 Tottenham 2: Eriksen snatches late winner after Ramirez sees red|
|Eredivisie Review: De Leeuw denies leaders PSV, Heracles secure timely win|
|Rodgers takes responsibility for Liverpool slump|
|Falcao ready for United return|
|Warnock basks in Palace display|
|Fabregas calls for ruthlessness|
|Crystal Palace 3 Liverpool 1: Rodgers´ men stumble at Palace again|
|Partick Thistle 0 Aberdeen 1: Rooney spot on for visitors|
|Reus blow for Dortmund|
|Mulvey leaves Roar post|
|Shakhtar Donetsk v Athletic Bilbao: Bernard eyes fast start|
|Forster urges Southampton to build|
|Sporting v Maribor: Montero out to continue hot streak|
|Schalke v Chelsea: Chance of revenge for Di Matteo|
|Manchester City v Bayern Munich: Pellegrini putting pressure on himself|
|Mourinho guards against Chelsea complacency|
|Rodriguez urges Real focus|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Ajax: Dutch outfit quietly confident|
|APOEL v Barcelona: Xavi seeks further improvement|
|Gotze basks in Bayern form|
|Tevez wants domestic form replicated in Europe|
|Mixed news on Naismith for Everton|
|Central Coast Mariners 0 Adelaide United 2: Sanchez nets brace for visitors|
|Can full of praise for Gerrard|
|BATE v Porto: Visitors eye top spot|
|CSKA Moscow v Roma: Italians eye qualification|
|Simeone lauds Atletico display|
|Messi the best ever - Luis Enrique|
|Eredivisie Review: Feyenoord make Peersman pay, Ajax beat Heerenveen|
|La Liga Review: Real Madrid, Barcelona win big|
|Allegri lauds Pogba performance|
|Messi pays homage after record-breaking day|
|Messi the record breaker|
|Serie A Review: Top two both victorious|
|Taylor hints that knee injury not as bad as first feared|
|Ligue 1 Review: Lyon stumble against Bastia|
|Van Gaal critical of United despite win|
|Lazio 0 Juventus 3: Pogba and Tevez star as champions dominate|
|Wenger frustrated by wasteful Arsenal defeat|
|Barcelona 5 Sevilla 1: Messi breaks La Liga record as Barca cruise|
|Garcia delighted with Ljajic display|
|League One Review: Swindon close the gap at the top, Yeovil off the bottom|
|Messi breaks La Liga goal record|
|Ancelotti: Isco a ´perfect´ Modric replacement|
|Bundesliga Review: Wolfsburg slip helps move Bayern well clear|
|Rooney revels in success of counter-attack ploy|
|Tiago: Malaga scalp proves we´re great|
|Arsenal 1 Manchester United 2: Rooney seals Van Gaal´s maiden away win|
|Reus injury angers Klopp|
|Schweinsteiger pays tribute to Bayern fans|
|Pellegrini salutes Toure´s attitude|
|Hughes laments Stoke´s slow start|
|Allardyce frustrated after Everton defeat|
|We deserved more - Redknapp|
|Irvine: Yacob can have no complaints|
|League Two Review: Luton run ended by Burton, Wycombe go top|
|Eibar 0 Real Madrid 4: Relentless Real win again|
|Poyet defends Cattermole over Cambiasso tackle|
|Dyche hails Burnley resolve|
|Martinez hails ´satisfying´ Everton triumph|
|Pearson sure of Leicester survival|
|Gomis earns Monk forgiveness for late miss|
|Pardew full of praise for Sissoko|
|Mourinho lauds ´beautiful´ Chelsea display|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Guidetti strikes again for Celtic, top four all win|
|Championship Review: Bamford denies Mackay´s Wigan, Derby extend lead|
|Aston Villa v Southampton: Koeman eyes international swagger|
|Newcastle United 1 QPR 0: Skipper Sissoko seals fifth straight win|
|Leicester City 0 Sunderland 0: Hosts´ goal drought continues|
|Stoke City 1 Burnley 2: Ings at the double as visitors hold on|
|Atletico Madrid 3 Malaga 1: Unconvincing champions halt in-form visitors|
|Everton 2 West Ham 1: Osman celebrates landmark with winner|
|Manchester City 2 Swansea 1: Toure seals comeback win for champions|
|Chelsea 2 West Brom 0: Yacob sees red as leaders march on|
|Paderborn 2 Borussia Dortmund 2: Reus injury leads to Dortmund capitulation|
|Bayern Munich 4 Hoffenheim 0: Champions move seven clear|
|Bielsa not concerned by Marseille investigation|
|Mancini buoyed by Inter preparations|
|Benitez rules out Liverpool return|
|Hertha prepared for Kalou absence|
|Montella confident despite Fiorentina pressures|
|Injured Alex out of Milan derby|
|Pochettino wants versatility from Dier|
|Van Gaal will not take risks with Falcao fitness|
|A-League Review: Sydney keep pressure on at top|
|K. League Review: Sangju Sangmu all but down, Gyeongnam remain in danger|
|J.League Review: Gamba deny title-chasing Urawa, Ventforet ensure safety|
|Rabiot thrilled with PSG return|
|Sterling wants long Liverpool stay|
|Poyet: I thought Cattermole would ´shoot´ me|
|Simeone: Cerci interest compliments Atletico|
|Blanc: ´I was confident´ of PSG win|
|Silva sidelined for crucial City-Bayern clash|
|Lambert would ´love´ to keep Vlaar, slams agent|