Ben Whiteman feels Emil Riis “thoroughly deserved” his goal in the 2-0 victory away to Cardiff City.
The Danish striker scored for the first time since October 2022 in the 30th minute in South Wales to break the deadlock.
It had been a long wait for the forward who missed almost the entirety of last year with an ACL injury.
Ben said: “I think the whole team has [been waiting for that]. We were with Emil through his really bad injury and the way he’s worked in the gym he’s a credit to himself.
“I thought today he was outstanding. I think he’s been outstanding the past few weeks and he thoroughly deserved his goal.
“For the first 20 minutes I don’t think we were at the races at all, but then goals change games.
“Emil’s come up with something out of the blue and it’s changed the whole game. I thought we were comfortable at the end.”
North End really kicked into gear after taking the front, and it was Ben himself who scored the second of the day in the 40th minute.
That was at the end of a superb team move which culminated in Mads Frøkjær laying the ball into the path of PNE’s No.4 to score his third of the campaign.
Ben said: “Mads has got that little bit of quality. I think you’ve seen that this season.
“When he gets in those positions in the 18-yard box and anywhere in and around it, he’s got that quality and vision to pick us out.
“I struck it well and it’s gone in the bottom corner so yeah, delighted.”
The three points picked up at the Cardiff City Stadium made it back-to-back victories for North End for the first time since November.
It follows a win at home to promotion-pushing Ipswich Town last week, which saw PNE race into a three-goal lead, before the Tractor Boys came out in the second half and pulled two back.
“Last week we sunk a little bit and allowed Ipswich on to us, and when that happens they’re going to create chances,” added Ben.
“Today I don’t think Fred had many shots to save. The last one he had was probably it really. I thought he was comfortable and we thoroughly deserved the win in the end.
“You look at performances over the past sort of month or so, they’ve been excellent.
“The Leeds game, [conceding in the] last minute was a killer but the results building up to that have been outstanding so hopefully we can do it in the week now and kick on.”