PNE striker Hugill hoping for more derby delight against Blackburn

Jordan Hugill comes under pressure against Wigan.
Jordan Hugill comes under pressure against Wigan.
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Jordan Hugill likes a derby day.

The Preston North End front man will be looking for another winner against Blackburn Rovers this weekend having also notched in games against Bolton and Wigan during the calendar year.

The decisive strike, a sweetly-struck back-post volley, in the 2-1 victory at Ewood Park in April remains a memorable one for the striker who is hoping for more of the same at Deepdale on Saturday.

“Everybody looks forward to derby days,” said Hugill.

“If they said they didn’t they’d be lying to you.

“I should have had two against Blackburn but (Shane) Duffy decided to handball it on the line (leading to a red card and Joe Garner scoring from the penalty spot).

“To get the winner was fantastic though.

“It was a brilliant day out, we brought 7,000 fans.

“I’ve got quite a knack of scoring in these games and hopefully I can carry on that form on Saturday.”

This weekend’s meeting of Lancashire rivals will be live on Sky, Hugill’s early strike enough to see off Wigan in September the last time the TV cameras came to Deepdale.

As well as scoring the winner, the 24-year-old gained something of a cult following on the night for accidentally swearing in his live post-match interview.

“I don’t think I’ll be getting back on for an interview this time,” the popular front man joked.

“I’ll just have to try and get man of the match to get back on it to try and redeem myself.

“It was a slip of the tongue, I could hardly breath never mind speak.

“It was just one of those. I got a lot of stick for it at the time but it happens, it’s live football and there’s passion in the game.”

The Wigan game saw PNE grind out the three points, Hugill’s only goal of the game coming after just seven minutes.

He is expecting a similar test from Rovers who after a slow start have improved to sit 21st in the Championship, five points behind 14th-placed North End.

“It’s going to be a really big challenge,” said the striker.

“We’ve got the Sky cameras there as well which is an added incentive for the team to win.

“Obviously there’s the incentive of it being a derby too and no-one wants to lose those.

“There’ll be up for it as much as we will.”

North End will be looking to bounce back after their 2-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday last time out made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

As Simon Grayson’s side pushed for a later equaliser team mates Eoin Doyle and Jermaine Beckford clashed, both being sent off by Scott Duncan on a shambolic afternoon for PNE.

Hugill believes the incident is firmly in the past now as a united North End dressing room looks ahead to another big game.

“It’s all gone, everyone’s fine, there were no problems within the squad,” he said.

“The passion just got the better of both of them.

“It’s been and gone, everyone’s over it, everyone’s friends, it’s not like we’re thinking about it.

“They’ve said their piece to the lads so we all just get on with it now.”

Both Beckford and Doyle would have been hoping to put pressure on Hugill, the former Port Vale man having nailed down his place in the PNE side this season.

The Middlesbrough-born striker has six goals to his name so far this campaign having emerged to be the number one choice to lead the line.

“It was my aim at the start of the season to start games,” he said.

“Obviously I got given the chance and I knew as soon as I did that I could take it.

“I feel as though I’ve been ready to do it this year more than anything.

“I just want to get as many goals as I can like any striker as well as playing well and developing.

“I’m just working hard and getting in positions to score goals and hopefully I can do that this weekend.”

Hugill admits it could have been even more, the miss against Wolves with the last kick of the game in the 0-0 draw back in November sticking in his mind.

But his all-round contributions as well as his goals have seen him seize his opportunity with Joe Garner sold to Rangers and Beckford injured for long periods of the season.

“I should have had a few more, obviously that chance against Wolves would have made it seven,” he said.

“These things happen in football, it’s how you get on with it and go from there.

“Other days they go in. I know if I get a chance like that again I’ll do the right thing and score.

“But I’m playing games, I’m confident, I think I’m always going to get a chance so hopefully I can take all that and score as many goals as I can.

“Given the run in the team I’ve had it shows I’m working hard and must be doing something right to keep the shirt like I have.”

Another derby goal this weekend would go a long way to making sure he isn’t shifted from Grayson’s side any time soon.