Frankie McAvoy felt the PNE supporters spurred his team on at Deepdale to help his side through to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
North End went into the half-time break with a 2-0 lead, but Cheltenham Town substitute Kyle Vassell got one back for the visitors just before the hour mark.
At that stage, Frankie feels the 6,343 home fans inside Deepdale really helped to keep his side going, and that’s what they did by extending their lead to 4-1 thanks to goals from Sean Maguire and Emil Riis.
“I think the players have shown tremendous courage and commitment to get back into the position that they’re in at the moment,” Frankie told iFollow PNE.
“I’m delighted for them. I believe in them, I believe in everyone that’s in the group and that’s what’s important for me. The fans can see that when we put a team out they give their utmost.
“They give everything they can to try and be successful and go and try and win the game, and tonight, I felt the fans were excellent.
“They really drove us on even when we had a lull in the game. At 2-1 you’re saying ‘oh God if they get the next goal you just never know what can happen’, but they spurred them on and that’s fantastic for me.”
PNE have been in that situation before in this competition, having found themselves in the same scoreline in the second round against Morecambe, but the head coach was pleased to see them again recover and push on for a win.
He said: “We started really well in the second half and then there was just a wee part in the game when I felt [we showed] probably a wee bit of complacency, but you always need the third goal in a 2-0 game because if the opposition get it, it becomes difficult as we found out in the last round against Morecambe.
“But thankfully they’ve stood up and answered the questions we posed of them. It was great to see Seani scoring a goal, I think his performances have been really good and that’s what he needed, so I’m delighted he’s managed to do that, and Emil getting another goal as well is great for the front players.”
The man who had put PNE into a two-goal lead initially was Joe Rafferty, who isn't currently a member of the 25-man squad for Championship action, but he was eligible to play in the cup.
Speaking after the game, Raff admitted to being frustrated with the situation, but Frankie was pleased with what he saw from the defender on Tuesday evening.
"I thought he was excellent tonight," he said. "But I’ve always been honest, I can understand that [frustration]. I had a good chat with him yesterday, there’s still one place left in the 25-man squad, but you’ve seen tonight that was one of the reasons why I didn’t make a full 25 because I just needed to make sure we’re covered in all aspects.
"Obviously we’ll see how the two injuries are tomorrow, both will need scans. Connor [Wickham] obviously he’s got a kick and it looks as though he’s stretched so we’ll find out results of the scan tomorrow and Liam's [Lindsay] doesn’t look a good one in his knee which is disappointing for me.
"Joe Rafferty has been excellent here, he’s done really well. I was delighted for him tonight. The door’s never closed on any of the guys who haven’t been involved in the 25-man squad, but what we need to do is make sure we make the right decision in terms of where the balance is better for the squad, but I was delighted for him because it’s not been easy for him and the one thing I know about him is he’ll give everything."
Rafferty will be hoping to be involved in the next round of the competition, which will have just 16 teams left in it, with the draw to come on Wednesday evening.
Asked if he’ll be watching the draw live, Frankie said: “Yeah I will! I’d love to get a home tie because I think coming here is great.
“I’ve said that, I think the fans have been excellent for us and hopefully we can get many good days here. We set the group a task to try and make Deepdale as tough a place as we can, no matter who it is that comes to play us, and that’s what we’ll try and do.
“At the moment we seem to be doing okay. I’m delighted for the players, the fans and the backroom team, we can go and enjoy our day off tomorrow and we’ll be ready to get down to work on Thursday for Birmingham City.”
Hear more from Frankie in his full interview on iFollow PNE.