Daniel Johnson says Preston North End pal Ben Pearson is best deep-lying midfielder in Championship

Preston midfielders Daniel Johnson and Ben Pearson
Preston midfielders Daniel Johnson and Ben Pearson

Daniel Johnson rates Preston team-mate Ben Pearson as the best deep-sitting midfielder in the Championship.

Both were on target in the Lilywhites’ last outing against Barnsley and have been key figures in the rise to third place in the table.

Their goalscoring form has contrasted, Pearson’s goal in the 5-1 victory over Barnsley before the international break his first since October 2016.

Johnson netted twice in the game to take his season’s tally to seven, making him joint second highest scorer in the division.

“I was so pleased to see Ben score that goal, covering the ground to do so,” Johnson told the Lancashire Post.

“For me that was probably the highlight of the Barnsley game.

“We all know what Ben is about and personally I think he is the best at what he does in this league.

“Ben doesn’t get into the opposition box too much but he does an important job for the team which we need.

“I think he’s quality and is such an important player.

“Let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t want to play against him – I’m glad he’s on my side.

“We were all buzzing after the last win and I’m sure Ben was delighted to score.”

In the main this season, it has been Johnson playing in the attacking midfield role with Pearson deeper.

Playing next to Pearson it has been either Paul Gallagher or Alan Browne.

North End have had plenty of time to enjoy the Barnsley win and then set their sights on the return to action against Reading on Saturday.

The international break in between came at a good time in Johnson’s opinion in order to get a breather.

Said Johnson: “With the amount of games at this level and the intensity of them, it’s good to get a break every now and then.

“Physically, you definitely feel the benefit of it.

“Your legs feel better, not quite as heavy, and mentally you get a chance to switch off and do other things.

“We’ve still been training hard but have been able to have a few days off too.

“This weekend we have to pick up where we left off and get a good result at Reading.”

PNE will face a Reading side under new management at the Madejski Stadium.

The Royals have named Mark Bowen as their new boss, succeeding Jose Gomes, who was sacked last week 
after 10 months in charge

Bowen had been working as the club’s sporting director since the summer.

Before that, the 55-year-old had a consultancy role with the Royals.

Throughout his coaching career, Bowen has worked with Mark Hughes, who at one stage was the favourite with the bookies for the job.