Two Lita engine: Boro striker Leroy Lita (right) accepts the plaudits after scoring against Preston
MATCH FACTSPRESTON: Lonergan, Jones, Morgan, Wayne Brown, De Laet, Tonge, Barton, Russell (Coutts 62), Pugh (Treacy 75), Parkin (Parry 85), King. Subs Not Used: Arestidou, Davidson, Nicholson, McLaughlin. Booked: Pugh, King. Goals: Jones 27. MIDDLESBROUGH: Steele, Hoyte, Bates, Wheater, Bennett, O'Neil, Thomson, Tavares (McMahon 87), Emnes (McDonald 72), Arca, Lita. Subs Not Used: Coyne, Boyd, Bailey, Kink, Hines. Goals: Lita 30, 59, Wheater 61. Attendance: 11,946. Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).
Billy Jones gave Preston the lead in a bright opening between two sides haunted by relegation but Lita then provided the game's only real nuggets of class as he thrashed home either side of half-time to give Tony Mowbray's side the lead.
And if that was not bad enough for Ferguson, David Wheater added a third with a fine header just two minutes after Lita's brace to give Boro some breathing space.
This was the North-East side's first away win since beating Scunthorpe on November 9 and was also Preston's seventh home League defeat as they remain rooted to the bottom of the table, five points from safety.
Ferguson said: 'As the manager, I've said many times that you have to take responsibility, there have not been enough wins.
'If someone were to decide they no longer wanted me here then I suppose I couldn't have many complaints.'
Mowbray added: 'It was a professional performance from us and we came here and did a job.'
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