Ben Pearson is learning his lesson says Preston North End boss Alex Neil

It probably went unnoticed in the joy of Preston’s derby win over Bolton but there was a moment which showed Alex Neil that perhaps Ben Pearson is learning to curb his temper.

The combative midfielder pulled out of a tackle towards the end of the 2-1 victory at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Preston midfielder challenges Bolton striker Josh Magennis in the air

Preston midfielder challenges Bolton striker Josh Magennis in the air

Had Pearson chosen to make the challenge, he might have stopped a break upfield by the home side.

But it would have put him at risk of falling foul of referee Andy Madley had he mistimed it and been pulled up for a foul.

North End manager Neil said: “We are making sure we look after Ben, keep him fit for the games and also keep his temper the right way.

“I don’t know if you saw but he pulled out of a tackle in the Bolton game.

“At the time I wanted him to win the tackle but in hindsight I was proud of him.

“There seems to be a little bit sinking in, very slowly but we are getting there.”

Pearson has missed eight games through suspension this season, seven of them due to two red cards.

The 24-year-old is on eight yellow cards, hence relief from Neil that he did not put himself at peril of another by making the challenge in the Bolton game.

Saturday’s match was one which Pearson actually came close to missing.

He felt a niggle during the warm-up, Neil choosing to take a risk and play him.

Said Neil “I got a shout in the warm-up to say Ben was struggling a little bit.

“I went out to have a chat with him and we came to the conclusion that if he lasted 10 minutes, he lasted 10 minutes and we would make a change then.

“Ben was a bit worried about us being forced to make an early substitution.

“I just told him if it was to be 10 minutes, give me a good 10 minutes!

“He’s such a quality player and everyone knows what I think of him.

“Ben’s been fundamental to our success in recent weeks.

“What he gives us is that anchor from which we can build the rest of the team around.”

Pearson lasted 87 minutes at Bolton before cramp forced him off, Ryan Ledson coming off the bench to replace him.

“Ben’s missed so many games through suspension this season that he’s not had a consistent run, hence he got a bit of cramp,” said Neil.

“Hopefully he will be fine for Norwich on Wednesday.

“I’d expect him to be okay, he’s a resilient lad.”