PNE winger Callum Robinson believes North End are heading in the right direction despite suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat tonight.
"We got at them for most of the match and we definitely deserved at least a point againt a very good side," said Robinson after the final whistle.
"As a group, we're gutted as I'm sure the fans are. We grafted in the first-half and stuck with it and we're obviously gutted it hasn't worked out tonight."
The hosts looked odds on of claiming at least a point in the game, especially with the momentum in North End's corner going into the final few minutes of the game, only for Derby to snatch the three points late on.
The goal came from nowhere after Derby's Craig Forsyth arrived late in the box to head home with three minutes left on the clock.
As heart-breaking as it was for North End, Robinson believed the fans reaction after the final whistle was telling that there was plenty of encouragement to take from tonight's game.
He continued: "They (the fans) will be gutted like we all were. We tried our hardest, showed plenty of commitment and I don't think the fans could have asked for much more.
"We can take positives from tonight; it's hard to take at the moment but if we play like that week in, week out it will come for us.
"We touched on starting bright and tonight the gaffer wanted the full 90 minutes, and I think he got that."
For more reaction from the North End youngster after making his first start of the season tonight, head to PNE Player via this link.