Show of strength: Preston striker Jayden Stockley pleased to have been top of the pile

Preston North End manager Alex Neil and striker Jayden StockleyPreston North End manager Alex Neil and striker Jayden Stockley
Preston North End manager Alex Neil and striker Jayden Stockley
Preston’s stay at the top of the Championship might have been brief but striker Jayden Stockley felt it was a statement of intent.

The Lilywhites’ 1-0 win at Charlton on Sunday sent them to the summit until Monday night when West Bromwich jumped back above them.

It was the first time PNE had been top of this division since 2006 and Stockley hopes that has sent a message out.

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Centre-forward Stockley said: “It was psychological more than anything, more of a statement that we can get there.

“Had we lost at Charlton and gone down a few places we might not have got the chance again any time soon.

“It put us up there and it showed everyone we can do it and we do mean business.”

Stockley played a key role in the win at The Valley.

He was handed only his second Championship start of the season, that on the back of making a big impact from the bench the weekend before against Blackburn.

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North End used him as a targetman to go long and he won the penalty from which Paul Gallagher hit the winner.

Stockley said: “It was good to play from the start and I gave as good as I got.

“I got hit by an elbow inside the first minute but I didn’t say anything, I just got on with the business.

“There have been other games where I have taken the ball in, linked it and been a bit more pretty.

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“Different games call for a different approach and this was one of those.

“ We were away from home, Charlton is a tough place to go and we knew we were in for a hard game.

“We’ll take 1-0 away from home any time, the defenders were delighted with that.

“I got the penalty, myself and Jason Pearce had been fighting all day. When the ball came in, he impeded my run and stopped me getting to the ball.

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“I was buzzing for Gally when he put it away, him and Daniel Johnson have great ability from the penalty spot.

“After a tough game and it being on the Sunday, it’s good that we have a clear midweek.

“We can rest up, get back on the training ground and get ready for Huddersfield.

“It’s quite a local game and they have found some good form recently.

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“If we can get a win going into the international break, that would be great.”

On the fitness front, the main concern building-up to Huddersfield’s visit will be the foot injury Johnson suffered in the first half at Charlton.

David Nugent and Brad Potts didn’t travel to London due to injury.

Potts’ absence meant a place on the bench for Tom Bayliss, with Adam O’Reilly and Jack Baxter making the trip as cover.