Charlton Athletic boss Lee Bowyer has hailed the impact of Preston striker Jayden Stockley.
North End headed down to South London to face the Addicks on Sunday, hoping to put a weekend of speculation about Alex Neil’s future firmly in the past.
It wasn’t exactly a game for the purists, but Preston claimed all three points. Again, it was a penalty – Preston’s seventh of the season in just 15 league games – with Stockley hauled down as he attacked a Joe Rafferty cross.
Paul Gallagher stepped up to score from the spot, sealing a 1-0 win to send Preston top of the Championship table, even if only temporarily.
North End have needed to improve on the road, and Neil went with a more direct approach against Charlton. Fortunately, striker Stockley continued the form that saw him change the game against Blackburn Rovers.
The target man not only won the penalty but was also unlucky with a second half header that rattled the woodwork. He won 13 aerial duels, the most of anybody on the pitch.
Stockley gave Preston a great platform to build on up top, and his performance was praised by Charlton boss after the final whistle.
Bowyer told the LEP that he was surprised with Preston’s style of play, but felt Stockley caused problems again, just as he did against Blackburn. Bowyer added that Stockley is a real handful, and his defenders just couldn’t deal with him.
“It surprised me the way they played, they went direct,” said Bowyer. “But I thought we struggled with that in the first half, we didn’t compete enough, he caused the same problems to Blackburn last week. He’s a handful, the fella’ up top,” he added.