Exclusive Sean Gregan PNE column

North End's Tom Barkhuizen (right) scores his side's first goal against Reading on Saturday

North End's Tom Barkhuizen (right) scores his side's first goal against Reading on Saturday

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Every credit to Preston North End for the manner in which they recovered from the setback of last weekend’s defeat at Fulham.

They got a 1-1 draw away to Derby, scoring a 95th-minute equaliser, then got a great win over Reading – a side who have been up there in the play-off positions for most of the season.

When you consider that Fulham went to Newcastle and won 3-1 on Saturday, there was no disgrace in losing to them.

How you recover from a setback is important and the draw at Derby, a club who have spent a fortune in fees and wage, was decent.

Yes, North End left it late to equalise, but it would almost have felt like a win.

As for the Reading game, you cannot grumble with 3-0 can you?

It was great to see the new lad Tom Barkhuizen score two of the goals to add to the ones he netted at Derby and Fulham.

Barkhuizen will have lots of confidence at the moment and is showing the North End fans why the club made their move for him. To see different players on the scoresheet is positive and there has been a good spread of goals this season.

A couple of years ago it tended to be Joe Garner and Jermaine Beckford scoring all the goals and if they didn’t get one, you wondered who was going to step up.

This season, Jordan Hugill, Callum Robinson, Aiden McGeady and Daryl Horgan have weighed in with goals, now Barkhuizen has got in on the act.

As a team, North End have opened up this season and are playing some very decent football, especially at home.

They work hard for Simon Grayson and have got more attacking flair than they had last year.

I can fully understand the approach last season when North End were new to the division.

Grayson wanted them to be nice and solid, not to leave the back door open.

They grew into the league, established themselves and now we are seeing them push on and take big steps forward.

We will have to see if they make the play-offs or not.

Fulham look to be the main threat to the top six and recent results suggest they are a very good side.

You would fancy them to edge out Sheffield Wednesday, although maybe Reading are looking a bit vulnerable.

All Preston can do is keep working hard, picking up results and seeing where that takes them.

They should enjoy this experience as the pressure is on the clubs above.

Next up is the derby at Blackburn.

North End won at Ewood Park last season watched by a 7,000 travelling support.

There will be another big following on Saturday and hopefully they will have plenty to cheer about.

Rovers have picked up under Tony Mowbray but are still fighting for points to try and avoid the drop.