PNE in Numbers: Barkhuizen going from strength to strength

Preston North End's Tom Barkhuizen battles with Sunderland's Lee Cattermole.
Preston North End's Tom Barkhuizen battles with Sunderland's Lee Cattermole.

It is easy to forget how rapid Tom Barkzuizen’s rise at Deepdale has been.

On November 17 it will be 12 months since the flying winger swapped League Two Morecambe for Preston with the Shrimps engulfed by financial issues.

The prize asset at the Globe Arena, Barkhuizen had to wait until January due to the rules around the transfer window to prove what a bargain buy he was.

After impressing off the bench in his first few appearances on his return to the Championship, six goals in his first six North End starts announced his arrival.

That was just the start and Barkhuizen has kicked on under Alex Neil. His influence was underlined by a tweet from Playmaker Stats earlier in the week.

The 24-year-old’s eight goals and seven assists mean he has been involved in more Championship goals than any other PNE player in 2017.

He has played 29 games in total, making 24 starts, which adds up to 1,992 minutes on the pitch in total.

His one double came in the 3-0 win over Reading back in March and of the matches he has been involved in there have been 11 wins, 11 draws and seven defeats.

As for the current campaign, it is 912 minutes for Barkhuizen who admits things have changed since Neil replaced Simon Grayson in the summer.

Playing as part of the three flexible forwards behind Jordan Hugill, the former Blackpool man is a key workhorse in the new manager’s pressing game.

Having come through the ranks at Bloomfield Road, Barkhuizen made his Seasiders debut as a second-year scholar back in 2010.

Loan spells at Hereford, Fleetwood and Morecambe followed, before then-Blackpool boss Lee Clark experimented with him as a right-back. He joined the Shrimps on a permanent basis in the summer of 2015.

Barkhuizen came of age at the Globe Arena and is only going from strength to strength at Deepdale.

If social media is anything to go by he will be the centre of attention this afternoon as PNE look to knock the Championship leaders off their perch.

Some Wolves fans have been less than impressed with his comments about how much money has been spent on new recruits at Molineux.

“The pressure is all going to be on them, you can’t spend £40million in this league and not go up,” Barkhuizen told PNE’s official website.

“We know where we are budget-wise and the players that we bring in but you also know what you are going to get.

“You are going to get hard work.”