Preston North End boss Alex Neil praised Sean Maguire's impact in the Gentry Day victory over Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium.
Maguire climbed off the bench to score twice as PNE came from behind to win 3-1 and maintain their play-off push.
Bolton had taken an early lead through Mark Beevers, North end equalising with a Tom Barkhuizen goal eight minutes into the second half.
Maguire, out for four months after surgery on his hamstring, joined the fray in the 65th minute.
The Irishman found the net within 12 minutes of his arrival, getting on the end of a Callum Robinson cross.
He got his second and Preston's third two minutes into stoppage-time.
Neil said: "It was fantastic for Sean and people forget how many important players we have lost this season.
"After the three or four months Sean had been out, I don't think he would have dreamed of a better game back.
"He came on at 1-1, the game was really tight, we needed to force the issue to get a win and he gets two goals.
"Sean had only played 45 minutes of football in four months, so to come on and deliver that just tells you everything you need to know about him.
"All that pain and frustration came out in his celebration for his first goal."
The win kept North End in ninth place, three points behind sixth-place Bristol City who they play on Tuesday night at Deepdale.
Neil said: "I was delighted to win, local derbies are always something which the fans and everyone connected with both clubs want to win.
"There aren't many of them for us this season so it was a big game, it was Gentry Day too for the club which we know carries a lot of weight with the supporters - it was an important day for them.
"More importantly for us it was another game where after the disappointment of the Ipswich defeat we had to get back on track.
"We have 11 games remaining and we needed to win this one to give ourselves an opportunity with those remaining games to stake a claim and stake a challenge to have a successful season at the top end.
"The real frustration for us was that we started the game really brightly, we passed the ball created a couple of opportunities and then conceded the goal.
"It was disappointing as I felt it was our ball, it was not a corner.
"However, when it became a corner we needed to defend our box better, we didn't block the run we talked about.
"After that we needed to keep plodding away, keep moving them from side to side, disrupt their back three as much as possible.
"In terms of passing and movement we were excellent.
"My frustration at half-time was that for all the good ball we had at the top end of the pitch we didn't hurt them enough.
"The half-time team talk was all about when we get the ball up to you front facing, it is up to you to deliver."