Bilic proud of Preston scalp

West Bromwich Albion

Slaven Bilic admitted he was "extremely proud" of his West Brom side after they went back to the top of the Championship thanks to Monday's 1-0 win at Preston.

Saturday’s 4-0 victory for Leeds at home to Middlesbrough had seen the Whites leapfrog the Baggies in the standings, taking Marcelo Bielsa’s men a point clear.

Bilic’s team needed a response against the Deepdalers who were unbeaten at home in the Championship, form that had seen them earmarked as fellow promotion candidates.

After two straight defeats on the road, Alex Neil’s men also had a point to prove and enjoyed the better of the play, only to be undone by a late sucker-punch.

Substitute Charlie Austin was the hero, converting from the penalty spot after Kyle Edwards was adjudged to have been fouled by goalkeeper Declan Rudd.

Rudd and his Preston team-mates were adamant there was no contact but Austin strode up and fired in to seal West Brom’s fifth win on the bounce.

The victory felt extra special for Bilic considering how well Preston have been going on their own patch.

While paying tribute to their opponents, the Croatian said he felt his team laid down a marker with their victory in Lancashire.

“We are doing well at home and we are nowhere near them,” he said. “We have just played against a team that this season are by far the best at home and we managed to beat them.

“That requires something. I am extremely proud of the guys.”

West Brom are next in action on Sunday when they welcome Swansea to the Hawthorns and may again need to play catch-up, with Leeds facing Huddersfield 24 hours earlier.