Daryl Horgan admits his time on the fringes of the Preston squad has been frustrating but hopes Saturday’s goal against Burton was a timely reminder of what he offers.
The winger came off the bench for the eighth time this season to score in North End’s 2-1 win over the Brewers.
Horgan’s only start came in the League Cup defeat against Accrington in August.
Otherwise it has been bench duty for the Irishman, who has been named as a sub in 19 games this term.
“I make no bones about it, it has been a frustrating time because obviously everyone wants to play football,” said Horgan.
“I spoke to the manager and he just told me to keep working, keep working hard.
“We’ve got a really good squad and nobody has a divine right to be in the team. You’ve got to keep working hard and wait for your opportunity and go from there.”
This time 12 months ago, Horgan had just come to the end of a successful spell at Dundalk, finishing off with an adventure in the Europa League.
After his move to PNE went through in January, he started 10 games in the second half of last season.
The 25-year-old joined the action on Saturday as part of a double change in the 62nd minute.
As well as the goal, Horgan was a constant worry to the Burton defence with his pace on the left wing.
It is from that side of the pitch which North End boss Alex Neil thinks Horgan can be most effective.
“That is Daryl’s favourite flank, he likes playing on the left side more,” said Neil.
“It has been a frustrating time for him this season but if he continues performing like he did at Burton, he will find himself in the team. Saturday’s performance is the best I’ve seen from him.
“To be fair to Daryl, he couldn’t have done any more when he came on.”
Horgan’s goal at Burton came after Tom Clarke had put Preston in front.
It was the first time this term that either had been on the scoresheet, Clarke only just back from a long lay-off.
Said Horgan: “It’s great to have Tom back, you don’t want anyone to have injuries and unfortunately we’ve had a few with long-term problems.
“Tom’s got himself back in, he played a last week and to get a goal was brilliant, you could see how much it meant to him.
“It’s great to have him back, he’s a great lad to have around the place and he’s a very good player as well.
“You need a strong squad in this league because you’re not going to have the same 11 players for 46 games.”