Tony Pulis encouraged by Middlesbrough '˜character' after win at Preston

NEW manager Tony Pulis has set his sights on a return to the Premier League after seeing his Middlesbrough side come from behind to defeat Preston.

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

The hosts led at half-time after goals from Callum Robinson and Jordan Hugill overhauled Daniel Ayala’s opener at Deepdale, but a strike from Jonny Howson and Ayala’s second saw the three points return to the Riverside.

And Pulis – who took over at the Boro helm after Garry Monk’s sacking two days before Christmas Day – could not have asked for a more promising start to the new year.

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“We scored a first goal and then without (us) touching the ball (again) they equalised and that knocked us,” he said.

“I thought Preston were really very good first half. We sat off them and allowed them to play.

“We showed a lot of character second half, which was very encouraging. This league is all about turning up every week. If you don’t do that you have absolutely no chance. I will be doing my best to get this club back into the Premier League as soon as possible.”

Preston North End: Maxwell, Clarke, Huntington, Davies, Woods, Johnson (Gallagher 78), Pearson, Barkhuizen (Horgan 78), Harrop, Robinson, Hugill. Unused substitutes: Rudd, Cunningham, Browne, Welsh, O’Connor.

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Christie (Shotton 59), Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Howson, Leadbitter, Guedioura (Bamford 50), Downing, Assombalonga (Gestede 50), Traore. Unused substitutes: Konstantopoulos, Fletcher, Johnson, Baker.

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).