Jordan Storey has lived on a diet of League Cup football to date at Preston, with Alex Neil reluctant to expose the young defender to their struggles in the Championship.
The summer signing from Exeter played in Tuesday’s penalty shoot-out defeat to Middlesbrough.
That followed appearances in the earlier rounds against Morecambe and Leeds.
But as far as the league is concerned, Storey has been an unused substitute twice.
Lilywhites manager Neil said: “I thought he deserved his chance, Jordan came in and aerially he looked good and competed.
“Jordan is a young lad, he played 17 games for Exeter in League Two last season.
“That is his football background so far.
“When we are not playing so well, it can be dangerous to chuck a kid in because what I don’t want to do is wreck his confidence.
“When the team as a whole isn’t getting results, to put a young lad in there could be a bit negligent.
“To be fair, I thought Jordan stood up, he fought his corner well and he has certainly got a bright future.”
Storey, who turned 21 earlier this month, was playing for Dorchester Town this time last year.
He was on loan at the Southern Premier League side to gain first-team experience.
Exeter recalled him last October for his League Two debut but he had to wait until February to start a regular run in the Grecians’ first-team.
Against Boro, Storey was in the centre of defence next to Paul Huntington.
Ben Davies was rested for the game, while skipper Tom Clarke moved to right-back to cover Darnell Fisher’s ban for getting two yellow cards in the League Cup.
Fisher is available for the weekend’s Deepdale clash with West Bromwich, who are the Championship’s highest scorers with 22 goals.
It will be the first meeting between the clubs for more than eight years.