Jordan Hugill admitted that he could not have asked for a more fitting venue than Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium to have opened his scoring account for Preston North End.
The young striker was born and bred in Teesside and had a Boro season ticket for a number of years.
On Tuesday night, his family and friends were in the stands to see him equalise Lee Tomlin’s opener.
Unfortunately, Boro soon regained their lead and went on to stretch their advantage, winning the Capital One Cup second round clash 3-1.
Although disappointed by North End’s exit, Hugill had the consolation of netting at a venue so familiar to him.
Hugill told the Evening Post: “Scoring at the Riverside Stadium is something I always dreamt of doing.
“I managed to do that on Tuesday night but it would have been even better had we come away with a win.
“Playing against Boro was a fantastic experience, something I had wanted to do since I was a kid.
“To come back and score at a ground where I used to watch games was unbelievable.
“I started watching Boro games as a kid with my cousins and I had a season ticket for many years when they were in the Premier League.
“When I started playing on Saturdays I had to get rid of the season ticket. I used to watch Mark Viduka, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mendieta, that era.
“They had a really good side then and I think this is the first season for a number of years that I have been excited as a Boro fan.
“For the goal, Will Hayhurst did well on the left and his cross was flicked on by Jack King and fell straight into my path. It was just meant to be and I wasn’t far out. When I scored I went running off to the Preston fans and ended up sliding on my knees – I have always wanted to do that!”
The Boro trip was Hugill’s first start in a North End shirt after two substitute appearances.
He is very much a work in progress as a first-team player, his break into the full-time game only coming when Port Vale signed him from Markse United in July last year.
Vale loaned him straight out to Gateshead, and it was only last October that he played his first game in League One after returning to Vale.
Said Hugill: “I have been working hard on my fitness since I came here and I will carry on with the hard work.
“That is what I am all about. I want to do well here.”