When Ryan Lowe named just his second Preston starting XI, some were left wondering who on earth was playing at right wing back.

After trialling Ali McCann there against Barnsley, Lowe left the Northern Irishman on the bench to face Stoke City.

Alan Browne has played at wing back before, but it wasn’t him either.

No, Lowe went with Brad Potts as his right-sided wing back at Stoke – a decision that may have confused many.

Since joining from Barnsley in 2019, we haven’t seen Potts in that role in a Preston shirt.

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In fact, you could argue that Potts – often the scapegoat to Preston fans – hasn’t yet shown what his ‘right’ position is at North End.

What’s interesting though is that Potts isn’t a total stranger to this kind of role.

When Potts emerged at Carlisle United, he started out as a right back but admitted he liked going forward.

The attack-minded right wing back role seems ideal for that mindset, especially under an expansive manager like Lowe.

Potts didn’t look out of place in that position against Stoke, winning five aerial duels whilst making three clearances, two tackles and one interception.

Stoke City v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images

The big moment came going forward though, as Potts got himself on the end of a Daniel Johnson cross to volley Preston level at 1-1.

You could see the sheer release of emotion from Potts after that goal. Flying head first into the travelling Preston fans, Potts let it all out; all the frustration of being in and out of the team for three years, all the anguish at being the whipping boy for North End fans.

In that moment, Potts was Preston’s unlikely hero, hauling them back into the game from his ‘new’ position.

Andrew Hughes handed Preston the 2-1 victory with a late header, but it was Potts who drew North End level.

Potts had to roll back the years to do it by heading back into a defensive role, but he has now shown Lowe – and Preston fans – that he can make a real impact in this new era.

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