Barkhuizen showing his versatile skills

Preston front man Tom Barkhuizen
Preston front man Tom Barkhuizen
Share this article

Preston boss Simon Grayson often talks about his liking for players to be versatile and Tom Barkhuizen showed that in the weekend trip to Leeds.

The Championship player of the month is more likely to remember the Elland Road clash because of three good chances which fell his way in the 3-0 defeat.

Inside the first 13 minutes, he had a header saved by Robert Green and shot wide after going one-on-one.

Later in the contest, Barkhuizen saw a shot hit the bar as PNE looked for a way back into the game.

After six goals in six starts, it was strange not to see his name on the scoresheet.

Barkhuizen played in four positions at Elland Road, 
operating for the first 70 minutes as a striker.

When Simon Makienok and Jermaine Beckford joined the action from the bench, he moved to the left wing.

He also had a spell on the right wing, interchanging with Aiden McGeady.

Then when Alex Baptiste was sent off for kicking out at Pablo Hernandez, Barkhuizen filled in at right-back for the last few minutes.

Having also played as a wing-back in his relatively short time at Deepdale, he is proving to be PNE’s flexible friend.

Barkhuizen’s natural game is high up the pitch but he is happy to adopt a defensive role if required.

“When you’re scoring you want to be as near to the goals as possible,” said Barkhuizen.

“But would I rather get subbed or be moved to wing-back? Of course I’d rather get moved to wing-back.

“Every player wants to play every minute and I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to show I can play in various positions.

“I would say that I’m a better forward player than I am defensively.

“But if the gaffer thinks I can play wing-back and has 
100% trust in me, I’ll try and do a job where I’m asked to play.”

After collecting the player of the month award last week, Barkhuizen could be in line for another trophy soon.

He is on the shortlist for the Championship goal of the month award, his opener in the 3-0 victory over Reading landing him the nomination.

Voting takes place on the Sky Sports website and the poll closes at 6pm on Tuesday.

Barkhuizen will be aiming to get back among the goals when North End make the Good Friday trip to third-placed Huddersfield.

The Easter programme is completed with a home game against Norwich on Monday.