Josh Harrop’s edging up Preston North End’s scoring charts

Josh Harrop after finding the net late on against Norwich City on Saturday
Josh Harrop after finding the net late on against Norwich City on Saturday

Josh Harrop’s late goal in Preston’s FA Cup defeat to Norwich City has lifted him up to third place in the leading scorer’s chart at Deepdale.

The midfielder netted PNE’s second goal six minutes from time of the 4-2 reverse to the Canaries.

It was Harrop’s sixth goal of the campaign, three of those scored in the Championship, two in the League Cup and this latest strike in the FA Cup.

Harrop was given a start for the Norwich game as Lilywhites manager Alex Neil rang the changes, making nine in total.

It was only his ninth start in all competitions this season, although a hamstring strain did see him sidelined for five weeks.

In terms of his display against Norwich, Neil felt Harrop had imposed himself on the contest more in the second half than he had done in the first.

Neil said: “I think like most of the team, Josh got better as the game went on.

“He was more effective in the second half and did some good things.

“Norwich play their two wide players in pockets of space behind you so we needed to narrow off. Josh likes a bit of freedom to play in down the sides, Billy Bodin is the same.

“So for a while that was a bit of an issue in the Norwich game.

“When we got a bit more into the game and got more of the ball, you could see the quality of those two.

“I thought it was a very good goal from Josh.”

Harrop played on the left-hand side of North End’s midfield against Norwich, a position Neil favours him in over the No.10 role.

He started there against Reading too, his first start since October.

Whether his goal will keep him in the side for the derby clash at Blackburn on Saturday, remains to be seen.

Neil has, in the main, used Sean Maguire as an inside-forward on the left. The Irishman got a breather at the weekend, rested from the matchday squad.

The goals have dried up for PNE in the last couple of months.

So while Harrop’s goal and the one earlier in the second half from Bodin did not have a major effect on the result, they were welcome all the same.

Daniel Johnson remains Preston’s top scorer with eight league goals even though he has not played for more than a month. Tom Barkhuizen has seven goals in league and cup, then comes Harrop.