Jordan aims for more goals and a play-off place
Jordan Hugill has a goals target in mind as he looks to keep Preston North End's play-off push on track.
The striker goes into the Deepdale clash against Bristol City with 11 goals to his name, 10 of them in the Championship.
In a campaign where the goals have been shared round the squad – North End have had 16 different scorers in the league – Hugill is their leading scorer.
The 24-year-old has hit a bit of a barren run of late, with him without a goal in the last five games.
So the sooner he can be back on the scoresheet, the better.
“I would like to score a few more goals, it’s been a little while since I last scored against QPR,” said Hugill.
“My performances have been really good though, I’ve been consistent.
“I might not have scored but I have created stuff for other players and made space for others to play in.
“It has been a big season for me, I remember saying to the gaffer in pre-season that all I needed was a chance.
“I was given that chance early in the season and I’ve not looked back.
“I want to finish this season with a few more goals, I’d like to reach 15 if I can.
“Here we are not reliant on one player to score the majority of the goals.
“They have come from a lot of different players which is good to see.
“I’ve created things for Callum Robinson who has scored quite a few, while Tom Barkhuizen has come in and shown what he is all about.”
If selected this evening, Hugill will be up against his former team-mate Bailey Wright who made the move to Bristol City in January.
The Australian was also Hugill’s room-mate before away games.
“I’m sure it will be a good one and we will enjoy the battle,” said Hugill.
“Bailey and myself are good friends but we won’t be for 90 minutes when the game is going on.
“Whatever happens, we will shake hands afterwards and have a good chat about it.
“For a long time I was used to him being here but he moved on and that happens in football, people move clubs.
“Bailey has moved on and now we’re going to be facing him, that is something to get used to.
“It will be a big challenge because I know how good a player Bailey is, he has shown that at international level with Australia and here at Preston.
“He was a good room-mate on the away trips, he put up with my bad jokes, singing and dancing – he just laughed and let me get on with my stupid stuff.”
North End and Wright’s Bristol City need the points tonight for differing reason.
The home maintain an interest in the play-offs while the Robins are just a point above the relegation zone.
Having played Blackburn and Nottingham Forest in the last two games – both of who are in a similar position to City – and drawn both, the Lilywhites will be acutely aware just how tough this game could prove.
If they are to continue their quest of trying to make the top six, this game in front of the home faithful almost has the ‘must-win’ status.
Hugill said: “The play-offs are the aim and as long as there’s a mathematical chance we can get in them, everyone will strive to achieve that.
“We want to be up there, in and around it, hopefully we can get on a good run until the end of the season.
“After the first month or so of the season, our record has been really good.
“As a squad we have worked very hard and now we are coming towards the final bit of the season.
“We know we will have to work hard against Bristol City because they have a lot to play for, as have we.
“It should be a good game and hopefully we can get the win.”
Reflecting on the season so far, Hugill is proud of how things have gone.
“On our day we are a match for anyone,” said the front man.
“We have proved that by beating Brighton, Aston Villa, Norwich and Huddersfield.
“Down here we gave Newcastle a run for their money and I’m sure we will give them a good game up at St James’ Park in a few weeks.
“We are a close group here, a big group of friends who go out and play football together.
“There are no cliques, we work hard in training and then afterwards have a laugh and joke.
“The gaffer has done well there, bringing in players who he knows will fit into our system and dressing room.
“It has worked brilliantly, not just this season, but in the last few years.
“You know that if you are feeling a bit down about something, there are people here who will help pick you up.”