Sheffield United 2 Preston North End 0

Last updated : 29 November 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Michael Brown may be set to cash in with Glasgow Rangers next season but he could yet help Sheffield United into the Premiership.

The 26-year-old might not be on course for the 22 goals he bagged from midfield last season but he hit United's first from the penalty spot and set up Stuart McCall's second.

The Manchester City reject's goals last season helped United to the FA Cup and Worthington Cup semi-finals and the first division play-off final.

But even if Neil Warnock's side reach the English elite they can't match a £15,000 a week deal being tabled by the Ibrox side, when Brown's contract expires in the summer.

And United can't hope to match the annual Champions League place and race for trophies by Rangers.

Brown hit his goal after he won a debate with striker Jack Lester in the 31st minute, after Preston's Scotland international keeper Jonathan Gould upended Lester.

Lester finally shook off defender Claude Davis, turned cleverly to open up a gap and as he pushed the ball past the keeper swiped away his leg.

But Lester, who scored United's last penalty against Stoke, lost out as Brown hung onto the ball and drilled his spot kick wide of Gould.

It was relief for the Yorkshire side after Preston's sharp breaks threatened to earn them an earlier lead.

Jamaican international Ricardo Fuller was a constant threat to the home side and should have scored at least twice as Craig Brown's side had United on the back foot in the second half.

David Healy also missed a glorious chance, heading wide when he was unmarked, and Preston were unlucky when Paul Gerrard saved with his legs after an Eddie Lewis cross ricocheted off Dickson Etuhu.

But veteran midfielder McCall settled the Bramall Lane nerves when he ran into the area, latched onto Brown's clever flick and rammed home his second of the season.

Minutes from the end Preston had strong appeals for a penalty rejected by referee Jeff Winter when Phil Jagielka upended Healy, leaving Craig Brown furious.