New PNE striker can mix it

Striker Jordan Hugill is thrilled to have signed for Preston
Striker Jordan Hugill is thrilled to have signed for Preston
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It will be cocktails all around at the end of next season should Preston North End achieve their Holy Grail and win promotion.

New PNE striker Jordan Hugill is an expert when it comes to mixing drinks.

It is a skill he gained while working for a year as a barman at the Dickens Inn, in Middlesbrough, as he desperately tried to break into football’s professional ranks.

Having just turned 22 this month, Hugill has spent the majority of his time since leaving school playing 
non-league football.

However, he got his big chance last summer when Port Vale snapped him up from Northern League First Division outfit Marske United.

His form for Vale soon caught the eye of a number of other clubs but it was PNE boss Simon Grayson who won the race for his signature.

While Hugill is hoping his days working behind a bar are over for good, he would have no hesitation in rustling up a few cocktails for his team-mates should promotion be secured next May.

“I can make a mean cocktail,” revealed Hugill, who has also played for Seaham Red Star, Consett, Whitby Town and Gateshead.

“I worked for a year behind a bar to pay my way while I was playing non-league football.

“I was doing a bit of all sorts but hopefully that is all behind me now.”

Hugill, who has signed a two-year deal with Preston, believes being a latecomer to the professional game will give him an added edge as he looks to establish himself at Deepdale over the coming months.

Despite all the knock-backs he has encountered and the various stints at several non-league clubs, Hugill never stopped believing that he would one day make it.

He said: “I think from the day I started playing, I knew the only thing I was going to do was play football.

“No matter how many knock-backs I had, I never stopped believing.

“Like I say I worked in a bar, I played non-league for a number of teams – that is who I am really.

“But I am just happy to be finally where I am now and hopefully I can carry on doing what I’ve been doing over the last couple of years for Preston.”

Vale were keen to extend Hugill’s stay in the Potteries and were disappointed when he turned down the offer of a new contract.

The young striker admits it was difficult to leave the club who had taken a chance on him.

However, when he learned of Grayson’s interest in him, there was no way he could turn down the opportunity of signing for a club like Preston.

“I can never be more grateful for what Vale have done for me,” Hugill said.

“The players were all behind me and helping me all the way. The staff put the time in with me behind the scenes and the fans were great too.

“But for me footballing-wise now, the best option was Preston.

“It’s a massive club and I’m absolutely thrilled to be here.

“The season starts soon and I can’t wait to get started.”