Preston North End up against old boy Jordan Hugill again – this time with QPR
Preston North End will face their record sale Jordan Hugill for the third time – but with a different club – in the clash with Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
Twice last season, striker Hugill played against PNE for Middlesbrough, having been loaned there by West Ham.
On Saturday he will be sporting QPR’s blue and white hoops having made an east-to-west loan move across London in the summer.
North End sold Hugill to West Ham for around £9.5m in January 2018.
He only played three times as a sub for the Hammers before going on a season-long loan to Boro in 2018/19.
Ahead of the start of this campaign, Hugill was loaned to QPR where he has so far scored eight goals.
North End manager Alex Neil says his former frontman will take some watching.
And discussing the decision to sell him almost two years ago, Neil is still of the view it was the best deal for all parties.
Neil said: “I’m sure Jordan going to West Ham changed his life financially. He became a Premier League player.
“Last season he played for Middlesbrough who are his home-town team, now he’s with QPR who are a good side.
“I think his decision and our decision for that deal to take place was 100% the right one.
“I’m sure Jordan will have absolutely no regrets about going to West Ham.”
Hugill scored seven goals in 41 appearances for Boro last season and is finding life at QPR more to his liking.
His eight goals have come in 18 games – 13 starts and five from the bench.
Such goal statistics do not surprise Neil.
“Jordan will get you double figures of goals at this level if you use him properly,” said the PNE manager.
“He has done well at QPR, Mark Warburton has got the best out of him.
“Jordan has got eight goals already, while he got double figures for us before the January that he moved.
“We know what Jordan is and he knows us. We are going to have to match him physically.”
North End head to London on the back of three defeats and face a QPR side who have gone seven matches without a victory.
There have been three draws in that sequence, the latest being last week’s share of the spoils against Derby at Pride Park.
Said Neil: “QPR are a good side, I know results recently haven’t gone their way but I watched them at Derby last Saturday and they were well worth a point.
“They fluctuate shapes and have some really talented players in dangerous areas.
“Jordan has been scoring goals for them, Nahki Wells gets goals, while Eberechi Eze is a good player. I like the boy Ryan Manning who plays at left wing-back.
“QPR under Mark are fluent and have a lot of goals in their team.
“It will be a tough game and we have to be ready for what they will offer. I’m looking forward to it.”