Preston’s trip to Bournemouth was billed up for Ben Pearson to face North End, but he was overshadowed by Ben Whiteman and Ali McCann.
Whiteman and McCann scored the goals to give Preston a 2-1 win at the Vitality Stadium, ending Bournemouth’s season-long unbeaten run.
Frankie McAvoy will be delighted with what is arguably the biggest win of his time in charge of the club.
Whiteman and McCann not only got themselves on the scoresheet, but put in plenty of work in the midfield battle.
Whiteman will have wanted to stamp his authority on the game, especially with Pearson on the other side.
Just as Whiteman was brought in during the January window, Pearson was sold to Bournemouth.
They never had the chance to feature together in that Preston team, and Whiteman managed to win the midfield battle on Wednesday night.
The stats are hugely impressive; Whiteman not only scored but also recorded a key pass and had the second-best pass completion rate at 83.7% – just 0.2% behind Ali McCann.
Yet the really stunning stats come from Whiteman’s defensive work.
Four tackles, five interceptions and five clearances were absolutely vital in front of the Preston defence.
Comparatively, Pearson managed three tackles, no interceptions, no clearances, no shots on target and no key passes.
This was an all-action performance from Whiteman, and the display from him and McCann showed that, as great as Pearson was in a Preston shirt, North End have great midfield options of their own.