Award-winner David Buchanan has been applauded by Graham Westley for the attitude he’s shown while out of the Preston side.
The left-back was named League One player of the year at the North West Football Awards.
That was in recognition of his performances at former club Tranmere last season where he was a virtual ever-present.
There have been fewer first-team appearances since he swapped Rovers for North End in the summer.
Recently, that has been down to a knee injury, Buchanan returning to action as an 80th minute substitute in last Saturday’s 4-1 win at Stevenage.
Westley and PNE assistant manager John Dreyer accompanied Buchanan to the awards night in Manchester.
“It’s always nice to see players pick up awards for season-long contributions,” Westley told the Evening Post.
“I signed David because he was in a good place as a footballer.
“He had a very good season at Tranmere, being a big part of what they did.
“I see him as a very important player for us on the left side.
“He’s not had as much game time as he might have done, but David is a real team player and just gets on with the job.
“I thought he made a big impact as a substitute at Stevenage.
“He made the sort of impact I’ve been asking him to make, one he probably hadn’t quite managed on other occasions.
“We pushed him forward on the left and he did a good job.
“Our options down that side of the pitch are strong.
“Scott Laird, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff and David have all played at left-back this season.
“Further forward we’ve got Lee Holmes and Will Hayhurst, and Joel Byrom in midfield has a strong left foot.
“It’s nice to have that balance in the squad.”
Westley, meanwhile, has again jumped to the defence of his players over another perceived act of gamesmanship.
It involved the injury suffered by Jeffrey Monakana late in the Stevenage game.
He had to be stretchered from the pitch, but only after being told to walk off by the referee.
Westley said: “I thought Stuart Attwell was excellent in the way he refereed the game.
“But what I did have an issue with, was the time when we had Jeffrey on the floor injured.
“You had the ref saying ‘get up’ and Jeffrey replying he couldn’t because he was injured.
“It worries me that referees are under the impression that our players are in some way feigning injury.
“Being told to walk off with an injury might do more harm.
“I’ve mentioned before how John Mousinho was forced to walk off the pitch at Hartlepool when playing for Stevenage last season.
“It turned out he’d broken his foot and he was out for six months.
“Mous is still very much of the mind that being forced to walk off did him no favours at all.”
Westley rates Monakana as doubtful for Saturday’s visit of Brentford to Deepdale.
He said: “After the Stevenage game I was saying it didn’t look quite as serious as first thought.
“That was more a case of allaying fears that he had broken his leg.
“He was very sore afterwards and we’ll have to see how he is.”