Tom’s on the March!

Tom Barkhuizen has scored five goals in four games
Tom Barkhuizen has scored five goals in four games

Tom Barkhuizen is aiming to carry the form he produced in March into April to help with Preston’s play-off challenge.

The 23-year-old scored five goals in PNE’s four matches during March and is certain to be in the running for the Championship player of the month award.

North End resume action after the international break when they host Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

With five points to claw back on the play-off places and three teams to climb above, the remaining eight matches are potentially fascinating.

Barkhuizen got his first Preston start at Fulham on Gentry Day, scoring in the 3-1 defeat.

He netted a 95th-minute equaliser at Derby three days later, then struck twice in the 3-0 win over Reading.

In the 2-2 derby draw at Blackburn 12 days ago, Barkhuizen fired North End in front.

Now established in the squad, he has a big part to play over the next five weeks.

Barkhuizen said: “It’s been a really good month, a really good March for me.

“Hopefully there is more to come for the last eight games of the season.

“Forwards will always be judged on goals and assists, thankfully it’s been my turn to chip in with a few.

“I think if you look at the whole season, it’s been spread out quite a lot.

“It’s obviously really nice from a personal point of view to have got on the scoresheet four games in a row.”

Barkhuizen has brought pace to the side since arriving from Morecambe.

So too Daryl Horgan, who was officially registered on the same day in January.

North End skipper Tom Clarke says the injection of pace has been key to the team challenging for the top six.

Clarke said: “I’ve been at right-back recently and it has been good to help out the wingers on my side.

“It is great to have pace in the side because that scares teams and puts them on the back foot.

“We’ve got the pace and trickery of Aiden McGeady, Tom Barkhuizen and Daryl Horgan – that makes teams wary of us.”

Horgan, McGeady and Andy Boyle were rejoining the PNE squad today after being on international duty with the Republic of Ireland.

Both Horgan and Boyle won their first caps against Iceland on Tuesday night, Horgan now looking forward to resuming action with PNE.

“We are just outside the play-offs with a chance of pushing on,” said the winger.

“We’ll see what happens in the last eight games and where it takes us.

“This week was good – to have made my international debut at the Aviva Stadium was special.”