Preston North End brought a welcome end to their six-game winless run on Saturday afternoon, as they came from behind to beat Charlton Athletic 2-1.
After Andre Green – who had been on loan at Deepdale from Aston Villa in the first half of the season – put his new temporary club Charlton ahead from close range, Josh Harrop levelled for Preston just past the half-hour mark, curling a brilliant effort into the far corner from the edge of the area.
It was then a former Charlton man who would win it for Preston, as Patrick Bauer headed in from a corner early shortly after half time to give North End the lead, and eventually the three points.
That result has lifted Preston to ninth in the Championship standings, two points adrift of the play-offs, meaning they will still believe that a push for promotion is possible this season.
Here, we take a look at three things we learnt about Preston from their win over Charlton.
Scott Sinclair is adapting quickly
Following what was a somewhat underwhelming debut from the bench at Blackburn last week, Scott Sinclair was handed his first start in a Preston shirt against Charlton, and those of a North End persuasion will surely have been pleased with what they saw.
Having struggled to really get involved during that late cameo at Ewood Park, Sinclair’s new teammates certainly seemed keen to get the winger in the game on Saturday, and you could certainly see why.
Throughout the course of the game, made Sinclair made a number of promising runs through the Charlton half with the ball at his feet, breaking into the opposition area, and although things didn’t quite come off with regards to his finishing touch, his ability and willingness to get into those sorts of positions while in possession, certainly bodes well for Sinclair and Preston going forward.
Josh Harrop is hitting form at the perfect time for himself
With Sinclair already bedding into the side nicely and top scorer Daniel Johnson making his return from injury against Charlton, Josh Harrop will surely be relieved by the impact he is currently making, from an individual perspective as well as a team one.
Harrop’s goal against Charlton to pull his side level was his third strike in as many games, and just like his one against Blackburn, it was a stunning effort from distance to equalise for Preston after going behind earlier in the game, while it was also his corner that found the head of Patrick Bauer for North End’s winner, showing he is doing more than just scoring goals for North End at the minute.
Having been made to wait for his chances over the past 18 months or so due to injury, it seems Harrop is now taking his chance by making the sort of contribution that surely has to see him continue in the side for the time something, and with the addition of Sinclair and return of Johnson further adding to manager Alex Neil’s options in attacking midfield, this run of form could not have at a better time for Harrop.
Patrick Bauer shows his worth
Up against the club he played such a big part in winning promotion for last season, Patrick Bauer demonstrated just why Preston did so well to bring him to Deepdale from Charlton in the summer.
Not only did he produce a towering, thumping header to claim all three points for North End, but his contribution in his more familiar role at the other end of the pitch was just as impressive, and indeed important.
With Charlton pushing for an equaliser after Bauer’s goal, the German defender was a huge presence in his side’s backline to protect the lead he had given them, producing a number of vital interceptions to deny his former club that leveller, giving those Charlton fans behind the goal he was defending a reminder of just why he was so popular at The Valley, to leave them looking nervously over their shoulders, while he and Preston continue to push for the play-offs.