Brad Potts' touch was vital in Preston North End's victory over Middlesbrough but it even caught out his own manager

Brad Potts foxed his own manager when setting Preston North End on their way to victory against Middlesbrough.

Thursday, 10th December 2020, 12:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th December 2020, 12:38 pm

Potts got the slightest of touches – but a vital one at that – to Andrew Hughes’ shot to break the deadlock at Deepdale.

They were to run out 3-0 winners at Deepdale, meaning they set-off for Saturday’s clash at Luton in good heart.

It wasn’t the most obvious of Potts’ seven goals in a North End shirt, nor of the 46 he’s got over the course of his career.

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Brad Potts (left) is congratulated by Andrew Hughes after giving Preston North End the lead against Middlesbrough at Deepdale

PNE manager Alex Neil said: “I actually didn’t know at the time it had hit Brad but we know he can be a big threat in the box.”

Straight away though, Potts knew it was his goal and celebrated accordingly.

The midfielder said: “I just guided in it, Hughesy shot was going wide.

“I did celebrate to make the point it was my goal and the main thing was it went in the net.

North End midfielder Brad Potts drives forward against Middlesbrough

“I don’t normally get scrappy goals like that but it doesn’t matter how they go in.

“When you look at it back, you can see the touch and the ball going under the keeper rather than him saving it.

“We went on to win the game well and it was a big three points for us.

“I felt we put in a good performance and deserved the three points.

“It was a tough game, Middlesbrough go man for man and that is difficult to play against.

“You probably think a game against a Neil Warnock side is going to be a tight one, so to score three goals is good on our behalf.

“Once we made it 2-0, the game opened up more and there were even more chances.”

Potts, 26, shared the scoresheet with Scott Sinclair and Emil Riis.

Sinclair’s goal, firing low across the keeper after being played in by Riis, was his seventh of the season.

Riis struck three minutes after Sinclair with a good individual goal, that bound to have given him a big shot of confidence after fluffing a great late chance in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Wycombe.

Potts said: “Scott is probably the best in our team in front of goal.

“His goal was a good finish and going 2-0 up gave us some breathing space.

“It was ideal for Emil to come on and find a lot of space behind Middlesbrough.

“He’s good at finding that space and we were all delighted for him having missed that chance the other day. It was a great way for him to bounce back.”

North End now hit the road – actually the train tracks – for the clash with Luton at Kenilworth Road.

Then it’s another away game against Barnsley on Tuesday night, the Tykes being the club who North End signed Potts from nearly two years ago.

Looking ahead to Saturday, Potts said: “Luton have been decent this season, they have a good manager.

“It will be tough but if we go down there and play like we did against Middlesbrough, we’ll be confident of getting something.

“It’s busy at the moment, a lot of games in a short period of time.

“That is tough going on the body and is why the gaffer has used a lot of players, he’s been rotating.

“In the Middlesbrough game he substituted lads to rest their legs and get freshness on the pitch.

“Being able to make more subs does help, we made a triple change on Wednesday and then were still able to bring Emil on.”

The Middlesbrough game was Potts’ 11th start in the Championship this season, in addition to five appearances off the bench.

Form wise, Potts thinks his campaign so far has been a mixed bag.

“I feel I have done alright in a few games, scored a few goals but there have been some games where I’ve been disappointed,” said Potts.

“I need to be more consistent and play more like I did against Middlesbrough.

“That performance pleased me, I enjoyed the role I played and getting forward.”

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