Preston recorded their 2nd league win of the season with a 3-1 win over a lacklustre Stoke City with goals from Daniel Johnson, Billy Bodin and Josh Harrop in a night which former England keeper Jack Butland will want to forget. The Stoke stopper made two bad mistakes for both of North End’s first 2 goals, possibly something that could see him out of the England national team set-up in a few weeks. Anyway, enough about that, here is how we thought the Preston players rated:

Declan Rudd

Was a very quiet night in all honesty for Rudd. He showed some smart handling from crosses and a Stoke free-kick towards the end. His kick over the top to Barkhuizen played a massive part in the 2nd goal. I’ll whisper this very quietly as I don’t want to jinx anything but since the first game, he has looked solid.

Rating – 7

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Tom Clarke

Came off just before half time after picking up a knock. Was solid enough at the back, won most headers that came his way which seemed to be the way Stoke played in the first half. Sometimes showed his limitations going forward but overall solid in the 35 minutes or so that he played.

Rating – 6

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Patrick Bauer

Yet again another stellar performance from the big German. He won every single header that came his way and made light work of the Stoke front line. He made one key header when the Potters headed back across a corner which cut out an almost certain chance at 2-0. Really does look a fantastic signing.

Rating – 8

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Ben Davies

Similar to Bauer in that he won everything that came his way in the air, they look like a good partnership at the back at the moment. Was comfortable on the ball giving it into Pearson and Gallagher. Was a real shame for him and the back 4 that they couldn’t keep a clean sheet.

Rating – 8

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Joe Rafferty

For a player playing out of position, you couldn’t ask for more really. The former Rochdale man showed great energy down the left-wing making an impact in the final third. Looked good defensively also when at times he had to handle the tricky Tom Ince. Most certainly a part-time solution which for now seems to be working.

Rating – 8

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Paul Gallagher

Another quiet but effective night for Gally. He didn’t have a bad game in the midfield and kept the ball moving well as usual but he just wasn’t picking out that killer ball at the right moment which we associate with him. He was a little sloppy with some passes at times and he may be due a rest at the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday.

Rating – 7

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Ben Pearson

Pearo was as consistent as ever with another fantastic performance in the middle of the park. His passing was brilliant, barely giving the ball away. Was involved in most of Preston’s attacking moves, and to match that he was roaming around, tracking runs and breaking up many of Stokes potential attacking moves.

Rating – 8

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Billy Bodin

Scored the vital 2nd goal mainly due to Jack Butland’s error but overall, he looked tidy on the ball again. It was good to see him track James Mclean back who could have been dangerous. Was taken off at the right time as he looked to tire down the right side.

Rating – 7

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Daniel Johnson

DJ was involved in everything positive that Preston created. He scored the 1st goal with a decent effort which Butland should have done better with in all honesty. He showed great composure in the build-up to the 3rd goal too, cutting down the angle and was unlucky not to score himself. The ball always went through Johnson and he looks really at home in that number 10 position, especially at Deepdale.

Rating – 9

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Josh Harrop

A very promising comeback for his first competitive league appearance in a long time. He was very positive on the ball, always making himself an option and making a lot of decisive runs across the pitch pulling Stoke players out of position. He needs to learn at times the right time to pass the ball but that will come with game time, I hope. It was great to see him top off his comeback with the 3rd goal and a tidy finish to boot.

Rating – 8

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Tom Barkhuizen

Starting him upfront on his own may have surprised a few people when they saw the lineup, but it was a move which ultimately worked for North End. Barky did well in a position he is not natural in but you could see that his pace caused problems aplenty for the Stoke backline. This was illustrated by his part in the first two goals when he got in behind the defence and you could see that this worried their defenders too. Not sure if this is a position that we will see Barky too often though.

Rating – 7

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Substitutes

Darnell Fisher

Came on after Tom Clarke’s injury when the plan was to probably rest him after not playing much in preseason. Did look slightly tired at times but did a good job and played a part in attacks down the right. Switched off late on to allow McClean to score a consolation goal for the Potters which will annoy him more than anyone after McClean’s ridiculous antics earlier on where he seemed to have fisher on the floor by the neck.

Rating – 6

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Brad Potts

Worked hard after coming on for the last half an hour. Helped the defensive efforts to see out the game. Played his part in some slick moves with Johnson, Fisher and Harrop and linked up well with them all too.

Rating – 6

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Alan Browne

Only came on very late on again so had very little chance to have an impact on the game. Similar to Potts though, he looked good enough when he did come on and did a good job sweeping up in the middle and linking play with the front 3 too. The Irishman, although not starting in the last 3 league games, will no doubt have a big part to play yet this season.

Rating – N/A

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Why not give our match review from the Stoke City game a read? Just hit this link here.