PNE striker back in the saddle

Jordan Hugill in action at Boundary Park
Jordan Hugill in action at Boundary Park
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It is a fair assumption that Preston striker Jordan Hugill did not watch any coverage of the closing stages of the Tour de France recently.

The 24-year-old tried his hand at cycling during PNE’s pre-season training camp in Ireland.

Bikes were the mode of transport around the Fota Island complex where the North End squad spent six days earlier this month.

One of the fitness sessions for the players was a 9km cycle ride, putting power in the legs.

Hugill told the Evening Post: “I’m fed up of the sight of bikes, I don’t want to ride one again for however long it might be!

“It was good to start with but by the end of the trip I couldn’t wait to give my bike back.

“Cycling for my dinner in the rain is something I’m glad I don’t have to do again.”

Biking aside, Hugill has enjoyed the pre-season work and got 90 minutes – and a goal – under his belt in the 4-1 win against Morecambe on Tuesday night.

He headed PNE’s third goal at the Globe Arena, getting on the end of a cross from Callum Robinson.

Earlier in the game, the roles were reversed with Hugill setting up Robinson for the opening goal.

“It was a brilliant workout all round at Morecambe,” said Hugill.

“Quite a lot of the lads, myself included, got the whole 90 minutes, which is great for fitness.

“We played well as a team and scored four goals, which was very welcome.

“I had a hand in the first goal for Callum.

“At first I was thinking of having a shot but I decided to put it into the middle and Callum got on the end of it.

“He repaid the favour for my goal, putting over a great cross which I got my head to.

“The goal of the night was obviously Ben Pringle’s shot.

“That was a brilliant finish. Ben has got a fantastic left foot and is a great addition to the squad – he is a great lad too.

“I’m going to claim an assist for that one because I was stood behind Ben screaming at him to shoot.

“We are getting towards the end of pre-season now although we have still got the Bolton game on Saturday and some hard work next week.

“Pre-season training has been tough but really good at the same time.

“Everyone is looking really fit and sharp, we all came back in brilliant condition.

“We all want to play and prove ourselves, we fancy our chances again this season.”

It could be a battleground to decide who plays up front this season in the Preston squad.

Hugill has Joe Garner, Eoin Doyle, Jermaine Beckford and Simon Makienok for company in attack – you could throw wide man Robinson into the mix too.

Last season, Hugill scored five goals, three of those in the Championship against Bolton, Blackburn and Leeds.

The 24-year-old said: “The competition we have got up front this season is brilliant to have – it will hopefully bring out the best in everybody.

“We all want to play and it is up to us to force our way into the side.

“I’ve scored a couple of goals in the friendlies and they can only help put my case forward to the manager in terms of being picked.”