Preston North End maintained their Championship promotion push with a narrow victory at Wigan Athletic which stretched their unbeaten run to five games.
Tom Barkhuizen finished a fine team move, slotting in Daniel Johnson’s low cross from a few yards out, to give Preston an early lead.
Alex Neil’s side had chances to double their advantage before the break, the best of which saw Sean Maguire’s header tipped away by David Marshall.
Straight after the restart, Preston did make it 2-0 with another slick passing move, this time the impressive Johnson finishing smartly into the corner after Barkhuizen found him in the box.
The Latics, who are the division’s lowest scorers, threatened an unlikely comeback when Chey Dunkley capitalised on some poor defending to poke the ball in from close range.
But they have failed to score more than once in 24 of their 31 Championship fixtures and were unable to grab an equaliser despite piling on the pressure in a fine second-half performance.
Wigan had pulled themselves to within two points of safety following impressive back-to-back victories over Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds.
However, they came up against a classy Preston side who climb back into the play-offs at the expense of Bristol City who lost at home to Birmingham on Friday.
With at least a four-point gap to the teams just outside the play-off places, North End will remain in the top six once all the weekend’s fixtures have been completed.