STOCKPORT COUNTY 0 PRESTON 1 PRESTON'S David Healy has made himself a firm favourite with the North End fans -- and watching Northern Ireland manager Sammy McIlroy will feel the same way about the young striker.

Healy, a £1.5m record buy from Manchester United, has scored five goals in his seven internationals under McIlroy -- and now has the same statistic for Preston following his 73rd minute winner over struggling County.

"I heard Sammy was watching," said the 21-year-old, who pounced on Brian McBride's flick on following a Gary Parkinson corner. But my job is just to keep scoring those goals. I set my stall out to score in every game I play in.

"It was great when it went into the net, turning to the fans. They were right behind us and when they were chanting my name, it makes you put a bit extra into it."

It was third time lucky for North End who drew the first encounter with Andy Kilner's side in the league and then lost in the FA Cup. And their third victory in a row, following five successive defeats, moves them back into play-off contention.

"We've got 50 points now which I think the lads would have thought was tremendous at the start of the season," continued Healy.

"Now we just want to improve and get close to the play-offs."

Preston had countless chances in this game before Healy's winner and the three points were virtually secured when Rovers defender Simon Grayson, on loan at Edgeley Park, was dismissed for a second bookable offence on 85 minutes.