Alex Neil hailed Jordan Hugill as a “beast” after his goal handed Preston all three points over Reading on Saturday.
The 25-year-old completed a fine team move with a thunderous volley in the 23rd minute at Deepdale.
After topping PNE’s goalscoring charts with 13 last season, Hugill is looking to kick on again this campaign with Neil excited by the talent he has at his disposal.
“Jordan is a beast, he really is,” said the North End boss.
“The two centre-backs who he was up against are strong boys, so it just goes to show how physically dominant he can be.
“We wanted to try and get out from the back but Reading tried to stop that by pressing.
“So Jordan provided the outlet, we could clip it up to him and play from there.
“Jordan is a rare breed, a big centre-forward who can link the game as well as he does and carry a goal threat.”
The front man’s form has seen Birmingham put in two bids for his services this transfer window, both swiftly rejected.
There is also talk of Leeds showing an interest with Chris Wood Burnley-bound but PNE have had no contact over any potential deal.