Contract talks not just about the money says Preston North End’s Tom Barkhuizen
Tom Barkhuizen admits there are a number of things to consider when it comes to negotiating a new contract with Preston North End.
The 28-year-old says he is at a crossroads with what happens next – and it is not a case of being all about the money.
It is approaching five years since Barkhuizen joined the Lilywhites from Morecambe, with him just three games off the 200-appearance mark.
He is in the last few months of his current contract and there will be talks over a new deal at Deepdale.
Barkhuizen has spoken with the PNE hierarchy on the subject to explain his view on where he is at.
His focus recently has been on getting better after Covid but talks are likely during the coming weeks.
Barkhuizen told the Lancashire Post: “I like to think I’m a very open and honest person, I don’t like to leave anything hidden.
“I haven’t left anything hidden to anyone here, whether that is Frankie McAvoy, Peter Ridsdale or Craig Hemmings.
“Myself and Craig had a 40-minute chat before one of the reserve games, we get along well.
“I’m sometimes too honest for my own good but I’m not a kid who has only played 50 games in the Championship.
“When I’m fully fit and I play to my strengths, I believe I’m one of our biggest players.
“I don’t think I have to prove that to anyone, I know my worth but I also don’t want things to get stale – I don’t deal well with being bored.
“I don’t want to get into a comfort zone – that is when you start letting people down.
“That is the kind of decision from my end which I need to make.
“It’s not just a case of the club coming up to me and saying, ‘We want to pay you this, do you want to stay?’ It’s not just about that.”
Barkhuizen accepts there is a risk in him thinking deeply about any offer and taking time to accept what might be put on the table for him.
“If I haven’t sorted anything by January, I know there is the possibility the club might try to sell me, which is fine,” said Barkhuizen.
“I can’t sit here and say I’m going to take my time, I’m going to do this and do that.
“If the club then decide to make a decision, I can’t be upset about that decision.
“I can’t have it both ways, I can’t have my cake and eat it in many scenarios, especially when it comes to contracts.
“This is a club which works on buying and selling. Are they going to let me walk away for free if I decide I don’t want to stay? Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.
“It’s all part and parcel of football.
“I don’t think I have to prove myself still, I know for a fact that Frankie loves me, I know for a fact that Peter likes me and I get along really well with Craig,
“But it’s not just about that, I need to think about it.
“I can’t think about it too much until I have any offer in front of me. We will see.
“There is no panic at my end and I don’t get the sense there is much panic at the club’s end either.”
Barkhuizen was back in the first team for Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Derby for the first time since the opening day of the season.
A bout of Covid sidelined him after that, his comeback delayed by him having to overcome the after-effects,
He got 59 minutes of the Derby game and now must see whether he keeps his place for tomorrow night’s clash with Coventry at Deepdale.
The visit of the Sky Blues is a big game for North End as they look for a win to take into Saturday’s derby at Blackpool.
It is six draws and a defeat in the last seven for PNE, form which is worrying the faithful with the trip down the M55 getting closer.
Barkhuizen played next to Emil Riis in North End’s attack against Derby.
He got little joy on his return to the side, with the Rams bossing the first half.
Just before the hour, Barkhuizen was replaced by Scott Sinclair.
As the game opened up more, Sinclair certainly made an impact and North End head coach McAvoy has a choice to make between Sinclair and Barkhuizen up front against Coventry.
That is if McAvoy does continue with the 3-5-2, having changed to 4-2-3-1 in the latter stages on Saturday.
With Coventry favouring three at the back too, North End could well stick with the system.
Reflecting on Saturday’s comeback, Barkhuizen said: “It wasn’t really the game you wanted to come into with the way it went.
“We got absolutely battered for the first half, probably longer. For about 70 minutes Derby dominated us.
“Not the ideal game to come back into, we just couldn’t get to grips with the way they were playing.
“We probably got back into the game because Derby blew up, I don’t think we got any better.
“Hopefully the next one I will play will be more fruitful for the team and myself.”