Palace go into tomorrow's game at Pride Park with renewed optimisim of wresting second spot from the grasp of Sheffield United.
The Blades' current form is more befitting that of a team battling relegation than one in the hunt for promotion to the Premiership.
Even bottom-placed Crewe have picked up more points from their last six games, and Palace, Leeds and Watford will all fancy their chances of catching the Yorkshiremen.
Having beaten Leeds on Tuesday night – and with Watford yet to visit Selhurst Park – Palace have a real chance of pushing the teams above them all the way. But the Eagles will have to win all seven remaining games – starting tomorrow.
The good news is that Derby have something of a defensive crisis. Darren Moore and Tomasz Hajto are both likely to miss out through injury. Midfielder Seth Johnson is also out, but Derby's influential playmaker Inigo Idiakez is expected to be fit to play.
Palace have no new injury or suspension problems – but Iain Dowie is expected to rest Michael Hughes after his exertions at Elland Road on Tuesday. Tom Soares is tipped to replace him in the starting line-up.
Probable Palace XI:
Boyce Ward Hall Leigertwood
Soares Watson Riihilahti McAnuff