John Smith was thrilled by Preston's win over Stoke and is also pleased by the youth team's progression in the FA Youth Cup

Having beaten league leaders Leeds at this venue a week ago, Potters fans would have fancied their chances before kick off.

Sunday, 27th January 2019, 11:38 am
Updated Sunday, 27th January 2019, 12:43 pm
Alan Browne celebrates opening the scoring against stoke

However for the second successive Saturday Alex Neil’s side turned in another battling performance to delight the travelling faithful and claim another vital three points.

Although you must never count your chickens before they hatch this win should dispel any lingering doubts that we will be involved in the relegation dog fight at the end of the season.

We are now a completely different proposition from the injury ravaged side we turned out over the festive period and a win at big spending Stoke is certainly not one to be sniffed at. We earned this win by scoring a goal in each half with the opening goal being created by Darnell Fisher, our “star man playing on the right” who turned in his best performance of the season so far.

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It was superbly executed by Alan Browne. Now he has added goals to his game, I feel that it wont be long before the next development in the likeable Irishman’s career will soon see him play in the Premier League.

Another of our players that I can see making it all the way to the Premier League is Ben Davies who along with new defensive partner Jordan Storey stopped Stokes expensive strike force from firing on any cylinders.

Stoke did have a lot of pressure but we wrapped the game up with a second goal which we scored just at the right time as it was looking that we might not be able to hold onto our slender lead.

In Alex Neil we have a manager who, unlike some previous occupants of the hot seat, is prepared to give young players a chance when he feels the time is right.

As well as two brilliant back to back away wins it has also been pleasing last week to see the academy side reach the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup following an impressive win against Norwich .

As well as the three players who have featured on the first team bench this season I was particularly impressed with the performance of attacking midfielder Tyrhys Dolan.

Having such a talented crop of young players coming through the ranks along with the continued recruitment of promising younger players from the lower leagues can only be good for the long term future of the club if we are to compete with the likes of high spending sides like Stoke but as was seen on Saturday anything is possible in this league.