PNE players kept minds on job says Tom

Tom Barkhuizen has started all five games in the Championship this season
Tom Barkhuizen has started all five games in the Championship this season
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Tom Barkhuizen admits transfer talk can be a distraction for players but says that has not been the case with North End this month.

Jordan Hugill, Callum Robinson and Greg Cunningham have all been the subject of bids from other clubs as the Lilywhites’ key men attract interest from elsewhere.

It has not had any impact on a bright start to life under Alex Neil though, Preston picking up eight points from five tough games to kick off the new campaign.

Barkhuizen was the subject of speculation himself before he left League Two Morecambe for Deepdale last November, so knows the drill.

“In can be disruptive in a way,” said the winger, who has started every game in the Championship this season.

“If you know you’ve got interest from maybe bigger teams, or clubs are offering you money that’s ridiculous, it’s kind of hard not to let it 
affect you.

“Obviously I was in that situation last year with Preston.

“I know what it feels like for a few of the boys who’ve got a bit of interest.

“But at the end of the day when you go over the white line on a Saturday you don’t think about that. You just want to go out and play and do your best and I think that’s what the boys who have had interest from other clubs are doing.

“Look at Jordan. He’s had interest all summer but he’s started the season like a house on fire.

“We’re a really good group and no one lets anything like that affect them or the dressing room, and hopefully that continues and we don’t lose anyone over the next few days.”

The only blot on a fine start to the campaign has been just the two goals scored.

Daniel Johnson’s winner in the season-opening 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday came from the penalty spot, with Hugill’s volley against Reading the sole goal from open play.

It came on the back of a free-flowing pre-season in front of goal, Barkhuizen 
scoring five times alone.

“The gaffer came in and we had a strong pre-season results-wise,” the 24-year-old said.

“We just haven’t scored the goals that we did in 
pre-season.

“There are good signs though and we’re creating the chances, it’s just about putting them away.

“I’m sure we’ll start banging the goals in and hopefully it will be really exciting for the fans as well.”