Simon Grayson described Preston North End’s victory over Charlton last night as a ‘top-class performance from start to finish’.
Two first-half goals from Paul Gallagher and a Daniel Johnson strike in the second period gave the Lilywhites a 3-0 win at The Valley.
Gallagher was given the captain’s armband for the night and thrived in a central midfield role.
He gave North End a second-minute lead with a curling free-kick, then struck a fine second from the side of the box later in the first period.
It was only North End’s second Championship win this season, it lifted them up to 17th place in the table.
PNE boss Grayson said: “It was a top-class performance from start to finish.
“We have not had the results recently which we would have liked but we have never moved away from the fact that we are a decent team.
“I felt this was an opportunity to put some pressure on Charlton, knowing that a bit like us, they have been lacking a bit of confidence and hadn’t been getting results.
“We put out a team shape which was affected by the number of players we had unavailable, playing a 3-5-2.
“It was a blistering start we got off to, with Adam Reach driving forward, being positive and winning the free-kick.
“Gally then showed his quality with the way he finished it.
“From start to finish the players showed a lot of quality, had a lot of desire and we scored three goals worthy of winning any football match.
“Hopefully it is something to build from.”
Gallagher replaced Tom Clarke as skipper, defender Clarke missing the game with a shoulder injury.
Said Grayson: “Gally led by example, he has played at a higher level and we played him in a position where we thought he could affect the play and affect Charlton.
“He kept things ticking over and we gave him the extra responsibility of being the skipper, he thrived on it.
“I just felt in the middle of the pitch he could boss the game and do the talking with him being one of the oldest lads in the team.
“I’m delighted for him but there were other good performances.
“You look at Jordan Hugill with his work rate and all round play, DJ also showed his quality again.
“Some of the defenders were playing in unfamiliar positions, Calum Woods and Greg Cunningham are normally full-backs but we played them as centre-halves in a three.
“Marnick Vermijl had been out for a while but came in and did well at wing-back, so did Adam Reach.
“You can talk about a lot of players doing a good job.”