Preston picked up another home win on Wednesday night, beating Stoke City 3-1 at Deepdale.

North End were beaten at Swansea City on Saturday, but hit back with a superb display against the struggling Potters.

Alex Neil again sprung surprises in his starting line-up. Tom Barkhuizen was given the nod as the central striker, whilst Josh Harrop started on the left flank. Harrop hadn’t even been in the matchday squad in the Championship this season, but was suddenly starting against Stoke.

It didn’t take long for Neil’s shock decisions to pay off. Stoke’s defenders were terrified of Barkhuizen’s pace in behind, and his chasing of a ball over the top resulted in Daniel Johnson scoring an early opener.

The second followed shortly after, with Barkhuizen’s pace again causing chaos. This time, the ball fell to Billy Bodin, and his tame effort somehow squirmed through Jack Butland and in.

Preston North End’s Josh Harrop scores against Stoke City. (Photo by Kevin Barnes – CameraSport via Getty Images)

More slack Stoke defending handed Preston the third, with Harrop intercepting Peter Etebo’s wayward pass. He found Johnson, and when Butland actually saved his shot, Harrop was on hand to score the rebound.

James McClean pulled one back for Stoke late on, but that wasn’t enough to take the shine off Preston’s win. With a makeshift left back and striker, as well as a shock start for Harrop, North End made light work of Stoke.

Boss Neil will be delighted with the win, and that his decisions paid off. Barkhuizen caused mayhem behind two big centre backs, and Harrop was bright.

Harrop was able to float around the pitch, showing great footwork and neat passing. His goal was a fantastic moment, his first league strike since his torn ACL injury almost a year ago.

Many Preston fans love Harrop, and feel he should be given more chances by Neil. He really took his chance on Wednesday, scoring and impressing throughout his surprise start.

Fans have taken to Twitter to hail Harrop, branding him ‘class’. Others think his display proves he needs more playing time, but whether Neil gives it to him is another matter entirely.

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