PNE striker under starter’s orders

Jordan Hugill is pushing for a start in the Preston team
Jordan Hugill is pushing for a start in the Preston team
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Jordan Hugill hopes that he is closing in on his first league start for Preston North End.

The striker has impressed coming off the bench in the last three games and is pushing to play against Cardiff City at Deepdale a week tomorrow.

His three previous starts in a PNE shirt have come in the cup competitions.

Hugill told the Evening Post: “I’ve been pleased with how things have been going.

“I’m working hard and have been doing well off the bench lately.

“Hopefully I can keep pushing myself into the gaffer’s plans and get a start.

“There is good competition for places up front and we all want to play.

“With Joe Garner being out suspended at the moment, there is a chance for someone to come in and do well.”

Hugill, 23, has been pressing his claim over the last few weeks following a stop-start opening spell to the season.

He scored in the Capital One Cup victory at Crewe but then got a red card shortly after coming on as a sub against MK Dons.

Following his return from a three-match ban, Hugill injured his knee in a Lancashire Senior Cup game.

In last month’s cup clash with Bournemouth, he headed a late equaliser to take the tie into extra time.

Hugill then came on in the games against Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday.

He is enjoying the challenge of the Championship and appreciates the rapid rise in his fortunes.

Three years ago, he was playing non-league football for Northern League side Marske United.

“It is great to be playing in the Championship and the standard is much higher than League One,” said Hugill.

“You find that teams are a lot more ruthless, something which has cost us in games.

“As a team we are all learning about the division and we need to adapt quickly.

“At the moment we are not in a great position but things can change quickly.

“There is a lot of Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday football to come and a few good results can push you up the table.

“We are still confident and the lads are raring to get going again once the international break finishes.

“This break is allowing us to do some hard work.

“We’ve been able to do some additional fitness work and focus on aspects of our play.

“Personally, this is a huge challenge for me. I feel that I am getting better as a player and will continue working hard to keep progressing.

“Three years ago, I was playing non-league, so to be in the Championship now is exciting.”

Preston’s plans for the international break had included a practice game at Liverpool today.

However, the dismissal of Brendan Rodgers as Reds manager saw the Melwood clash cancelled.

Earlier this week, PNE won 4-0 at Blackburn in a behind-closed-doors game.