Preston boss Simon Grayson feels Scott Laird's hard work is paying off after he scored as the Lilywhites beat Stevenage 3-0.
Former Boro defender Laird missed most of the last campaign after breaking his leg in November but returned this season, marking his fifth appearance with a second-half header against his former club.
Paul Huntington had already put Preston ahead on the stroke of half-time and Kevin Davies scored a third late on to make it a miserable first return to Deepdale for former North End boss Graham Westley, who is currently in charge of Stevenage.
And after continuing their unbeaten start to the season, Grayson praised Laird for the way he has come back.
"I was delighted for Scott Laird to score," he said.
"He's had a long road to recovery and obviously he's had a few games now in the team and that will do him the world of good. He deserved that goal for the time and effort he put in last year to get back."
Grayson added: "All I wanted to do was make sure our players were focused on what they needed to do. I said earlier in the week Graham can be credited with bringing a certain amount of players here, and we've obviously tried to get the best out of them and utilise them and we look like we've got a good team at the moment.
"We certainly upped the tempo in the second-half and as the game wore on we could have won the game by any scoreline really.
"It gave us the platform and once we got the second goal the team increased with confidence and the tempo increased."