Preston North End moved to the top of the EFL Championship with a 1-0 win away to Charlton Athletic on Sunday.
Manager Alex Neil has been strongly linked with the vacancy at Stoke City in recent days but reaffirmed his commitment to the new league leaders after his side’s trip to Southeast London.
Substitute Paul Gallagher scored the game’s only goal from the penalty spot just before the hour mark after Jason Pearce’s grapple with Jayden Stockley made the PNE striker fall to the floor.
Speaking after the game, Alex Neil reaffirmed he’s not interested in the Stoke job, telling TV cameras:
“I can’t control rumours and speculation but I can put a statement out to put it to bed. There is nothing to talk about.
“I am Preston North End manager. I love being here, I love working with my team and we crack on.
“I can tell you that I love working with this group of players. They are a special bunch and we want to try to keep doing what we are doing.
“I’ve been a manager for seven years. And when you’re hot, you’re hot, when you’re not, you’re not.
“In a couple of weeks people will be saying how hopeless I am. We’re really pleased with our start but nothing’s won after 15 games.”
Paul Gallagher replaced an injured Daniel Johnson in the first half, showed confidence in converting his spot kick in his trademark style – facing with his back to goal when lining over the ball, before walking back to his mark, turning to run in and smash home a powerful effort past Charlton goalkeeper Dillon Phillips.
Preston often looked the more likely winner in this game and deserved the three points come the end of the game. They could have won by a greater margin but for a few fine saves by Phillips, notably denying Stockley and Tom Barkhuizen late on.
This was only Preston’s second win of the season but was good enough to end the weekend in top spot, ahead of both Leeds United and Swansea City on goal difference. West Bromwich Albion will overtake them on Monday night should they win away to Stoke City.