Callum Robinson wishes Jordan Hugill well as PNE bid to follow their former striker to Premier League

Callum Robinson could not be happier for former team mate Jordan Hugill.

ALSO READ: Jordan Hugill says thanks to Preston’s players, staff and fans after sealing West Ham switch

PNE's Callum Robinson celebrates with Jordan Hugill after scoring his side's equaliser against Middlesbrough.

PNE's Callum Robinson celebrates with Jordan Hugill after scoring his side's equaliser against Middlesbrough.

The striker has sealed his dream Premier League move in Preston’s record sale and could make his West Ham United debut at Brighton on Saturday.

Every player in the North End dressing room has more than one eye on playing in the top flight, Alex Neil’s men three points outside the play-offs ahead of Hull City visiting Deepdale this Saturday.

Hugill has got his chance after the clubs settled on a deal reported to be about £9.5 m on Wednesday.

Now Robinson is hoping the side the big No.9 has left behind can follow suit as a collective.

Callum Robinson led the line in PNE's 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night

Callum Robinson led the line in PNE's 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night

“As lads and the club we didn’t want Jordan to go,” said the 22-year-old.

“He’s a key asset to the team but it’s a big move personally for him. Especially considering where he’s come from to where he is now it’s a good thing for us to see and he will be buzzing with it too.

“Not buzzing because he’s away from here but everyone wants to be in the Premier League.

“It does show what can happen for players at this club but hopefully we can do it together.

Robinson celebrates his equaliser against Millwall last month.

Robinson celebrates his equaliser against Millwall last month.

“That would be the main thing for me.

“Jord’s a good role model for the young lads.

“He’s been here a few years and scored a few goals and got himself up to one of the best leagues in the world.

“I’m really happy for him and so are all the lads.”

Robinson has grown in stature as the season has progressed after a slow start under Alex Neil.

Robinson has grown in stature as the season has progressed after a slow start under Alex Neil.

Hugill and Robinson’s paths differ greatly.

The former’s meteoric rise has taken him from non-league to the Premier League in five years, while the latter came through Aston Villa’s academy.

He had several loan spells, three at North End alone, before making his move to the Lilywhites permanent in the summer of 2016.

“Everyone’s journey is different,” Robinson said.

“Some people come through a Premier League club and play in the Premier League.

“Others like me drop down a bit and try and work yourself back up there.

“Then there’s players like Jordan. He deserves everything that’s coming because he works very hard and is very good lad.”

Robinson, with four goals to his name, will be one of those tasked with filling the void left by top scorer Hugill.

With the in-demand frontman left out for the 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night due to the transfer speculation surrounding him, it was left to PNE’s No.37 to lead the line.

He slotted in at the point of the attack as he had done in the third round of the FA Cup at Wycombe on a good night for Neil’s men.

It gives the frontline a more fluid and flexible look and Forest, like the League Two Chairboys before them, could not cope.

“I enjoy playing up front,” Robinson said.

“Anywhere across the front I’m happy, just attacking.

“Because we didn’t have Jord I went up top and think it worked really well.

“We were really happy as a group.

“The two games before that hadn’t been good enough but I thought we did really well as a team and got the points we deserved and the three goals we deserved.

“I’m going to be a different striker to Jordan.

“He’s a lot bigger than me, he’s more of a link-up a man and a hold-up player but he did score goals as well.

“I’ll run in behind a bit more, take channel balls and obviously on the defensive side I’ll probably press a little bit more.

“Whoever the manager decides to play up there will give 100 per cent.

“It was good that it worked the other night because now that Jord has gone we know in our minds that we can do that.”

While certainly offering a different threat at the City Ground Robinson did have to muck in and do some of the dirty work that is the staple of any central striker.

Robinson admits aerial challenges and battling to occupy defenders is not something that comes naturally to him.

“I wouldn’t say that’s my main strength,” he said.

“It’s more when I’m facing up a player but the gaffer told me to try and just battle for everything, which I thought I did.

“And then when we didn’t have the ball I just pressed as high as I possibly could.

“We won 3-0 and we were really happy with the performance.

“We’ve got to move on now though because we’ve got another big game coming up.”

That comes when lowly Hull, only out of the Championship relegation places on goal difference, visit Deepdale on Saturday.

Robinson has already enjoyed success against the Tigers this season, having scored the winner in the 2-1 victory at the KCOM Stadium back in September.

“They’re struggling,” he said.

“Like when we played Birmingham the other week they will be fighting for every ball but I’m looking forward to it.

“I got the goal at their place and hopefully I can do the same again this weekend and we can take home the three points again.

“We’re just three points off the play-offs which is a really good position to be in.”

It is the kind of game that PNE have struggled in this season.

Points have been dropped at home to Millwall, Barnsley, Sunderland, Birmingham and Bolton, while some of the more eye-catching displays this campaign have come on the road.

“It’s been a little surprising,” Robinson said.

“Through the years I’ve been here we’ve been stronger at home and struggled away.

“This year we’ve been good away and not struggled at home but we’ve had a lot of draws.

“Hopefully we can change that on Saturday and get back to winning ways at home and go from there.

“With how we’ve been playing away, if we can put together a good 
run of results at home and they can link together nicely then who knows what can happen this season?”