Preston fell to defeat again on Tuesday night, losing 2-1 at Barnsley despite taking the lead through Seani Maguire.
Maguire’s early header gave Preston the lead, but goals from Alex Mowatt and Victor Adeboyejo handed the Tykes all three points.
North End faded in the second half, and were left to rue Emil Riis firing straight at Jack Walton when in on goal before half time.
There wasn’t much for North End fans to shout about after a second defeat in a row, but the performance of Josh Earl was a rare bright spot.
Earl, 22, was brought into the side as Alex Neil went with a 3-5-2 system, with Andrew Hughes moving to left-sided centre back and Earl starting as the left-wing back.
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Earl produced a strong display, offering plenty going forward as he wasn’t afraid to carry the ball, and even went close to scoring in the second half.
He has had to be patient and wait for his chance this season, but Earl will now hope that this display can catapult him into Neil’s starting lineup on a regular basis.
Fans took to Twitter to hail Earl’s performance, suggesting he looked ‘so lively’ going forward and offers more at left back than Joe Rafferty.
Others now want to see him play more, believing he was the only player to come out of last night’s game with any semblance of praise.