Preston boss Paul Simpson singled out David Nugent for special praise following the win over Sheffield Wednesday.
Nugent struck twice to help Preston to come from behind and win 3-1 at Hillsborough.
England Under 21 international Nugent was strongly linked with a move away from Preston during the transfer window, but Preston managed to keep hold of their star striker.
Simpson believes all the speculation surrounding Nugent's future has galvanised the former Bury man in the right manner.
"I'm delighted with him. We are at that point where the speculation counts for nothing," said Simpson.
"We know he's here with us until the end of the season. The speculation has affected him but in a positive way."
Preston moved into second place courtesy of the win over Wednesday, but Simpson is refusing to get carried away.
"It's still very early days. We have had a result today where we haven't played that well," added Simpson.
"We have had to scrap and work for the result but that's all that teams at this stage of the season can do because it's all about getting the three points.
"We have got ourselves in a position to challenge and I think it's going to go right to the end of the season."
Wednesday boss Brian Laws was disappointed with his side's defending after throwing away an early lead.
"I thought it was a cracking start. We went 1-0 up at home with a great finish from Deon but then we really let ourselves down with the equaliser. It's come from a mistake and they finished us," said Laws.
"That's what they are good at, they are a good side and we gave David Nugent half a chance and they have gone and scored.
"All three goals were down to Sheffield Wednesday and that's what disappointing.
"It just wasn't good enough today, we shot ourselves in the foot.
"We needed to hang on to the first goal."I would absolutely die for a clean sheet, even if it's an ugly performance."