PNE's determination delights Alex Neil

Ben Pearson and Greg Cunningham celebrate at the final whistle
Ben Pearson and Greg Cunningham celebrate at the final whistle

Alex Neil has saluted the ‘huge heart and determination’ of his Preston North End side as they inched closer to the play-off places with a victory over Bristol City.

They beat the Robins 2-1 at Deepdale last night, that their fifth win in a row over the West Country outfit.

PNE celebrate Alan Browne's opener against Bristol City

PNE celebrate Alan Browne's opener against Bristol City

Sean Maguire was again PNE’s super-sub, scoring just seven minutes after coming off the bench.

That followed his two goals at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Alan Browne had chipped North End into the lead from 25 yards, taking advantage of a mix-up in the City defence.

Famara Diedhiou pulled the visitors level but within two minutes Maguire restored the lead and PNE held on to it to move up to eighth place.

Referee Geoff Eltringham shows Aden Flint the red card against North End

Referee Geoff Eltringham shows Aden Flint the red card against North End

Lilywhites manager Neil said: “A few people wrote us off after the Ipswich game here.

“The one thing about this team is that they keep going, they have huge heart and huge determination.

“They want to achieve something and I want to help them do that.

“We are doing fine, we have 10 games left and what this victory gives us is a really good chance to go on and hopefully finish this season strongly.

“I just hope that we can keep going, keep plugging away and getting results.

“It brings excitement to the fans and players.”

Neil was full of praise for his two goalscorers, Browne on target for the sixth time this term while it was Maguire’s seventh goal of the campaign.

“Alan has been fantastic for us, his effort, endeavour and what he brings to the team is there to see.

“Our middle three of Ben Pearson, Alan Browne and Paul Gallagher have played nine times together – we have won seven and drawn two when they have played as a three.

“With regards Sean, we didn’t think he was ready to start – we did a wee bit of training on Monday and he was breathing heavily at the end.

“What he has done is bring us 30 minutes of real quality and hopefully we can build him up.”

City had centre-half Aden Flint red-carded in the 90th minute for swinging an arm at Greg Cunningham.

It was a bad-tempered end to the game, one which saw nine yellow cards as well as Flint’s dismissal.

Neil said: “What you had is two high-octane teams that are playing in a crucial game with 10 matches remaining.

“You have worked all year to get to this point and what happens is that you don’t want to get beaten.

“Take anybody you have ever played at any sport, take the worse losers you have ever come across – there are 22 of them out there on the pitch.

“Emotions ride high, I haven’t seen the incident but apparently the lad has elbowed Greg in the face.”