Exclusive Jordan Hugill PNE column

"Watching the game back on Sky, on first view it looked like a nice flicked finish"

"Watching the game back on Sky, on first view it looked like a nice flicked finish"

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On a personal note it was great to score against Newcastle at St James’ Park on Monday night.

It was the biggest crowd I had played in front of and it was obviously a big occasion with the Magpies going for the win they needed to get promotion.

For me to make the 
score level in the first half, at the Gallowgate End, was special.

Unfortunately the game was to get away from us and that was very disappointing.

I’m a Middlesbrough lad and there is rivalry between them and Newcastle.

It is not at the same level as Newcastle-Sunderland but it is still quite keen.

I have been told that I was the first Preston player to score at St James’ Park for 38 years – a fact I’m going to hold on to and cherish.

It was a good goal to score – the ball got cleared out of our box and I picked it up inside our half.

I turned it out to Tommy Barkhuzien on the left wing, knowing what great pace 
he has, and concentrated 
on getting myself into the box.

Tommy put a great ball into the box and it was just a matter of getting some kind of contact on it and directing it towards goal.

It came off my shin and went in – it didn’t matter how, the important thing was that it went in.

Watching the game back on Sky, on first view it looked like a nice flicked finish with the outside of my foot.

But one of the replays from another angle shows that it hit my shin.

They all count though and as a striker I’ll take any goal that comes my way.

That is 13 for the season, 12 of them in the league, and my target has always been 15.

There are two games to go, starting with Rotherham, on Saturday, and hopefully I can reach my target.

Monday’s defeat was our fourth on the bounce, which is not good.

But I think in three of those games, we have been competitive and right in it for spells.

I would say that we had the better of the first half at Newcastle, apart from the first few minutes and that very last moment when a lapse in concentration cost us dear and they scored the second goal.

There have not been too many games this season when we have totally been totally out of the contest.

Until what happened at Huddersfield at Easter, we were still in contention for the play-offs.

Our aim now is to win the last two games and finish as high up the table as we can.

We have worked hard in the build-up to Saturday’s game with Rotherham United.

Earlier in the season we won at their place and I scored one of the goals.

Something similar would certainly be nice this time and we want to finish our last game at Deepdale on a high.

As far as the season as a whole is concerned, it has been my most consistent.

Last summer, I said that I wanted to play as many games as possible and make my mark.

I think I’ve done well in nearly all the games and that consistency has pleased me.

I’ve started 33 of the league games, which is a big thing for me.

I chipped in with the goals and when I’ve not scored, I’ve supplied a few assists or made space for the other lads to play in – that is my job here and I enjoy doing it.

This time two years ago, I was on loan at Hartlepool as they battled to stay in the Football League.

I scored a few goals in that loan spell and they managed to stay up with a bit of room to spare.

Unfortunately, they are struggling again and it is not looking too good for them.

For as long as I have watched football, Hartlepool have always been a Football League club and hopefully that can still be the case when the season finishes.

It would be a real shame to see them go down but I have belief in the lads who are there.

Hartlepool are a club 
who give players a chance –they might not be one of 
the big boys but if you ask a lot of players in the North East, they have been at Hartlepool at one time or another.

The loan spell I had there gave me the platform to prove what I could do after coming back from the bad knee injury I had.

I’ll be forever grateful for what Hartlepool did for me and it was nice to score those goals to help them.

When we played them in the EFL Cup at the start of the season, they ran us 
close and looked a decent side.

I’m not sure what has gone wrong there but fingers crossed they can get the points needed to stay up.