Alex Neil liked what he saw from Jordan Storey after recalling the promising defender for Preston’s draw with Middlesbrough.
With Ben Davies unavailable due to a knock, the 21-year-old was back in the starting line-up alongside Paul Huntington.
It was another assured display from Storey as he battled against former PNE forward Jordan Hugill in what was his seventh appearance since his summer move from League Two Exeter.
His last had come in the draw at Hull on October 20 where he conceded a penalty.
“I think the game was right up Jordan’s street,” said Neil.
“He played against Middlesbrough in the cup here and dealt with their threat very well and I thought he did exactly the same again.
"We’ve got a couple of bits to work on in terms of squeezing the game and getting higher up the pitch earlier.
“But I thought he showed why we signed him in the summer.
“When you sign somebody you can watch them as many times as you like and sit down and speak to them.
"You only really get a flavour for them when they come in the building.”
Storey playing in the centre of the defence meant captain Tom Clarke stayed at right back on a night where Neil had three full backs on the bench.
“He’s been great,” said the PNE boss.
“People might say ‘he’s not a right back’ and all the rest of it but he looks comfortable at right back to me and long may it continue.
"He’s made it impossible for me to drop him out of that right back spot.”