Consistency is key for PNE forward

Tom Barkhuizen burst on to the scene with PNE with six goals in his first six starts
Tom Barkhuizen burst on to the scene with PNE with six goals in his first six starts

Tom Barkhuizen says his target next season is to hit top form week in, week out for Preston North End.

The former Morecambe man burst on the scene at Deepdale with six goals in his first six starts for the club, winning the Championship player of the month award for March.

Currently recovering from hernia surgery and expecting to be ready and raring to go for pre-season, the 23-year-old is keen to build on those eye-catching performances, having been made to wait for his chance.

His move from the Shrimps was announced in November but he had to sit tight until January before being eligible to pull on a Lilywhites shirt for the first time.

Five substitute appearances came before getting his chance from the off, an opportunity he more than made the most of.

“Considering I wasn’t playing much at the start, it was good how things turned out,” said the former Blackpool man, who first played in the second tier for his hometown club.

“I got a few substitute appearances which gave me a taste of it and it couldn’t have gone much better when I first got in the team.

“In that spell I set high standards for myself and it is up to me to reach those standards consistently.

“I will be looking to do that next season. I will be a bit older and wiser.

“A few years ago I had a taste of the Championship, then went and played 50 or 60 games lower down.

“Maybe that helped me adapt a bit quicker this time.

“Six goals in six starts was something I was pleased with and it wasn’t just my goals but my all-round play that was decent in March and early April.”

After the arrival of Cork City striker Sean Maguire, North End are in the process of finalising a deal to make his team-mate Kevin O’Connor their second summer signing.

The left-back is a former Republic of Ireland Under-21s 
international and another key part of the side that sits 18 points clear at the top of the League of Ireland table.

It is believed it is a matter of when, not if, he officially joins the Lilywhites.