Jayden Stockley’s powerhouse performance which helped swing Preston’s derby clash with Blackburn in their favour was one very much needed by the striker.
That is the view of Alex Neil, with the PNE manager ‘absolutely delighted’ by what Stockley produced.
All eyes will now be on the Lilywhites’ teamsheet against Charlton tomorrow (12pm) to see if it lands him a place in the starting XI.
Stockley was summoned from the bench inside half-an-hour last week with Preston trailing 2-0.
He had an involvement in the build-up to all three goals as North End stormed back to collect the win.
Neil said: “I was absolutely delighted for Jayden.
“At times it has been a bit frustrating for him and he has not got as many minutes. By his own admission, he has not played as well as we would have hoped.
“He needed a performance like that for himself as much as anything.
“Jayden is a really good character about the place, he is desperate to do well, he wants to be a big part of the club and part of the team.
“I had no reservations in putting him on last week, it was early in the game but I felt it was crying out for his type as it was when I started him against Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the season.”
While it was a rare move by Neil to make such an early substitution for tactical reasons, it was not unique.
Midfielder Paul Gallagher was the unlucky man to get the hook and give way to Stockley.
Said Neil: “Two seasons ago I took off Calum Woods and Callum Robinson in the first half against Ipswich, so I’ve done it before.
“When I was at Norwich, I took Jacob Murphy off in the first half of a friendly the week before the start of the season against Hoffenheim.
“Everyone thought Jacob wouldn’t start the first game of the season but I started him against Blackburn and he scored from 30 yards.
“I did it at Hamilton, I once took my left-back off after 18 minutes.
“As a manager there are times when you start with a strategy and it doesn’t work.
“Half the time that is due to you not having got it right, half the time because the players haven’t grasped it.
“You have to fix it and that is what I did in the Blackburn game.
“I think the world of Gally – he has got real quality and he brings so much to the team.
“But I had to change it and fix what we were doing, and I did that.
“Making the change didn’t guarantee we would go on and win it but it gave us a better chance.
“Sometimes it takes quite a big change to have the effect you want.”