Preston have been dealt a double blow ahead of the home clash with Derby after on-loan Manchester United duo Joshua King and Ritchie de Laet were recalled to Old Trafford.
Both deals were not due to expire until after the Bank Holiday double-header against Derby and Crystal Palace.
However, United exercised the recall option in their loan agreements to cut short their time at Deepdale.
Leon Cort's loan from Burnley expired on December 31 and the sacking of boss Darren Ferguson may have curtailed plans to extend the loan.
Caretaker boss David Unsworth could recall Sean St Ledger after the defender was left out of the squad for the Bank Holiday defeat at home to Middlesbrough.
The Republic of Ireland international had been complaining about a soreness in his knee and groin but has also been linked with a January move away from Deepdale.
Derby will be boosted by the return of captain Robbie Savage.
The experienced midfielder was suspended as the Rams suffered a humiliating 5-2 defeat to rivals Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night.
Manager Nigel Clough was very critical of his side`s performance at the City Ground and Savage should come straight back into the starting XI.
Dean Moxey will be absent at Deepdale after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season against Forest. He will serve a one-match ban.
With fellow left-back Gareth Roberts still a doubt due to a calf injury, Clough may have to shuffle his defensive line-up as he looks to halt a five-game losing streak.
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.