They made the trip to Leeds Road with the poorest away record in the Third Division and without a recognised striker.
Injuries and illness had ruled out a trio of attackers in the shape of Graham Shaw, John Thomas and Nigel Greenwood.
So centre-half Adrian Hughes and midfielder Ian Bogie were thrown together as a makeshift strike force.
Bogie got on the scoresheet with his first goal since the reverse fixture against the Terriers at Deepdale seven months earlier.
Skipper Warren Joyce had opened the scoring as North End halted a run of five games without a win.
While the frontline had a makeshift look about it, so did elements of the midfield.
Bob Atkins, a centre-half by trade, was asked to step forward into the engine room as PNE boss Les Chapman went for a solid approach.
Backed by more than 500 away fans, North End were good from the off.
They shouted loudly for a penalty when former England and Aston Villa striker Peter Withe appeared to use his arm to clear a shot.
Hughes had the ball in the net from Bogie’s pass but the offside flag went up.
North End continued to press their mid-table hosts and broke the deadlock in the 30th minute.
Sammy McIlroy and Gary Swann linked up well in the midfield, Swann’s pass met by Joyce who toe-poked a shot past Town keeper Lee Martin.
The home side’s one shot of the first half came from Aidy Boothroyd, Alan Kelly dealing with that without too much fuss.
PNE doubled their lead within eight minutes of Joyce putting them ahead.
McIlroy was the creator, the veteran midfielder slicing open the Huddersfield defence with a fine pass.
Bogie latched on to it, moved forward past a defender and unleashed a fine shot from the edge of the box into the net.
With their tails up, North End pressed in search of a third goal.
Joyce and Bogie tested the keeper, with McIlroy not far off target with a free-kick.
Huddersfield came back into the contest in the second half after being so far out of it for 45 minutes.
Withe was replaced by former PNE midfielder John Kelly in a tactical switch.
Swann made a goalline clearance from Mick Byrne, with Kelly pulling off a good save from striker Craig Maskell.
It was Maskell who spurned a great chance to get Huddersfield back in the contest late on.
He turned a shot against the post with the goal at his mercy, a cross from the right having evaded Kelly.
It was that bit of luck which Preston needed to avoid an anxious finish, luck which had been missing from their play for long spells of the season.
In Joyce, they had the game’s best player, with Bogie not far behind in his emergency striker stint.
McIlroy rolled back the years with some of his play in midfield, even if the legs didn’t carry him as far as they once did.
PNE went on to avoid relegation – losing only three of their last nine games – although it needed a couple of results to go their way on the last day of the season for that to happen.
On reflection, there was no doubt how precious these three points in West Yorkshire were.
PNE: Kelly, Williams, Flynn, Wrightson, Swann, Mooney, McIlroy, Atkins, Joyce, Hughes, Bogie. Subs (not used): Harper, Anderton.