Preston North End boss Alex Neil salutes Josh Harrop's quality as Lilywhites pick-up vital win against Charlton Athletic

Preston North End manager Alex Neil thought his side were worth their victory over Charlton Athletic at Deepdale and praised the quality Josh Harrop brought to the game.

Saturday, 18th January 2020, 6:38 pm
Updated Saturday, 18th January 2020, 6:39 pm
Patrick Bauer is congratulated after scoring Preston's winner against his former club Charlton at Deepdale

Harrop and Patrick Bauer found the net in a 2-1 win, North End having to come from behind after an early opener from ex-PNE loan man Andre Green.

The three points - their first of 2020- lifted the Lilywhites up to ninth place.

Neil said: "If you look at the game over the piece I thought we were well worth the win, we were the better side for the majority of the game.

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PNE manager Alex Neil on the touchline during North End's win against Charlton at Deepdale

"The first goal was disappointing, they worked it from one side to the other and we didn't shuffle across the pitch quick enough.

"They got down the side, we didn't defend the cross well enough and we didn't defend the front area.

"It was a poor start and at that stage there were a lot of questions posed to the players in terms of have you got the mental toughness, can you take that setback and go on to force the issue.

"I thought we did that, we were calm, we didn't start forcing the ball and banging it forward, we kept playing and it took a real bit of quality from Josh Harrop to get the goal.

Josh Harrop (centre) is congratulated by Darnell Fisher and Alan Browne after scoring Preston's first goal in their victory over Charlton

"By the time we scored I knew something was coming, we should have had a penalty when Scott Sinclair was caught from behind.

"We started the second half really brightly, got the goal and we were well worth it at that point.

"Towards the end you could see some of the players starting to tire, DJ hadn't played a lot of football, Scott Sinclair hasn't played a lot.

"A lot of load had been put through Josh Harrop recently in comparison to before, Darnell Fisher had just come back in."

Neil used Harrop in the advanced midfield role behind striker Sean Maguire having had him operating in the main previously from a wider position.

It paid dividends as the former Manchester United scored from the edge of the box for his eighth goal of the campaign and later delivered the corner for Bauer's winner.

"Josh has been a bit unfortunate, at the start of the season he wasn't in the team but then broke in," said Neil.

"Then he got an injury which set him back for a few weeks.

"Josh has had to be patient to get himself back in but he's made a big impact in the last two games for us. What you can see is the quality he does have.

"It might make us a bit looser at the top end having him in but when he is scoring goals and creating goals, you can tolerate that."