Republic of Ireland international Jason Knight was again handed the captain's armband as Derby secured a surprise 1-0 victory over stumbling promotion chasers Bournemouth in Pride Park.
Krystian Bielik's first-half strike proved the difference as Wayne Rooney's side moved out of the relegation places.
Rooney hailed Knight after the game, saying he deserved to be handed the captaincy regardless of his age.
"He's a manager’s dream. He gives everything. He’s great for the younger and older lads to take note of, but I still want more from him," Rooney told reporters afterwards.
"But in terms of what we’re trying to build, he deserves the armband, whether he’s 19 or 30."
For their part, the Cherries lost further ground on the top two, dropping to fourth after Reading's win over Coventry, having won just one of their last six league games.
Even the late introduction of Jack Wilshere, who agreed terms with the club until the end of the season on Monday, failed to inspire Jason Tindall's side as they fell to a second successive defeat.
Reading strengthened their promotion push with a comfortable 3-0 victory over 10-man Coventry.
The Royals moved to within three points of the top two after stretching their unbeaten run to four matches.
Veljko Paunovic's side went ahead in the 16th minute when top scorer Lucas Joao slotted home his 17th goal of the season from close range.
Andy Rinomhota made it 2-0 straight after half-time and John Swift added a third with a superb 72nd-minute free-kick.
Coventry centre back Kyle McFadzean was sent off for his second yellow card for the foul that led to Swift's goal.
Paul Warne's 200th game in the Rotherham hot-seat proved to be a memorable one as his side drew 3-3 with Stoke.
Stoke took the lead in the 14th minute when Rhys Norrington-Davies' cross skipped up off Angus MacDonald's boot and looped into the top corner.
Rotherham got level after 31 minutes when Michael Smith caught out Danny Batth dithering on the ball and then picked out Matt Crooks at the near post to turn in.
The Millers continued to be on top in the second half and deservedly took a 51st-minute lead through Smith. Stoke failed to clear a corner properly and Ben Wiles mishit a volley on goal which eventually fell to the striker to nod in.
Stoke were clinical in their response and took their next chance after 62 minutes as Batth was found unmarked at the back post from Nick Powell's centre.
The game swung back Rotherham's way in the 67th minute with Crooks again on target as he lethally fired in a loose ball inside the box via the frame of the goal.
But Powell levelled the game eight minutes later with a precise header from James McClean's centre.
Elsewhere, Watford extended their impressive home record with a 1-0 win over Barnsley courtesy of Troy Deeney's first-half penalty.
The Hornets moved up to third place as a result of a 10th victory in 13 games so far at Vicarage Road. No club in the top four English divisions can boast as many home wins.