The win boosts their hopes of staying in the Championship and again raise question marks about Preston's play-off chances.

Following Nils-Eric Johansson's low finish in the final minute to make it 1-0, North End have now lost five of their last six matches.

After defeats in Worthington's first two games, the Foxes looked strong and were never really troubled by North End, with goalkeeper Conrad Logan enjoying a quiet 90 minutes.

Shaun Newton should have broken the deadlock before the break, and Iain Hume went close and also hit the post in the second period.

But that mattered little when Johansson met Newton's free-kick to end a run of 10 matches without a win.

Leicester began brightly and had the first chance of the afternoon after 10 minutes when a Newton free-kick was headed straight at North End goalkeeper Wayne Henderson by Patrick Kisnorbo.

While the Foxes were creating little in attack, they were hardly troubled by Preston's efforts at the other end.

And Danny Pugh slicing well over in the 23rd minute was Preston's first effort on goal.

A couple of minutes later, a dreadful Kisnorbo back-pass was intercepted by Brett Ormerod but Gareth McAuley made a well-timed challenge just outside the area to end the danger.

The Foxes were being forced further back and Hume's drilled effort, which was easily held by Henderson, was a rare foray forward.

Stephen Hughes' fierce drive from just over 20 yards was then pushed away at full-stretch just after the half hour.

Then Leicester youngster Joe Mattock took his time to cross and picked out the advancing Newton at the far post, only for Newton to blast over from 10 yards.

James Wesolowski also drove wide as Leicester's good spell continued and although North End came on strong in the closing stages of the opening period, the hosts never looked like creating a chance.

North End looked better after the break but David Nugent's first effort was driven straight at goalkeeper Logan.

There was a big shout for a penalty when Ormerod fell under Kisnorbo's challenge but referee Clive Oliver was unimpressed.

Richard Stearman's slip let Pugh in but Kisnorbo deflected the midfielder's cross wide with Nugent ready to pounce.

North End were finally managing to supply Nugent and from Alexander's drilled pass, he skipped around McAuley with ease only to have his shot blocked by Kisnorbo.

With just under a quarter of an hour remaining, North End twice bundled Johansson efforts away from Newton corners.

Hume should have won it for Leicester in the 80th minute after Mattock rode a challenge from Callum Davidson and then passed, but the Canadian striker shot just high and wide.

Nugent, who had just been booked for tangling with Kisnorbo, supplied a cross for substitute Michael Ricketts to head over from six yards.

With less than two minutes on the clock Hume saw a free-kick come back off the bottom of Henderson's post.

But with a minute left, they made the breakthrough with Newton's free-kick from the right converted by defender Johansson to take a major step towards safety.