Jordan Hugill thinks he has taken his chance in Preston’s forward line with ‘both hands’ this season.
The 24-year-old scored his 11th goal of the season in the 2-1 win against Queens Park Rangers at Deepdale.
Hugill netted the winner from close range in the 72nd minute, an Aiden McGeady blockbuster having hauled them level on the stroke of half-time after the visitors had taken the lead.
North End have scored 46 league goals this campaign, one more than they managed in the whole of last season.
Said Hugill: “I knew at the beginning of the season that if I was going to have a go at it, that would have to be this year.
“I got my chance early doors with Joe Garner going and I knew I had to take that chance.
“I’ve done that I think, here I am 11 goals later and in the next 12 games I hope to get more.
“It needed someone to step up when Garns went.
“At the start of the season, Simon Makienok had just come in, Eoin Doyle was here, Stevie May was on the way back from his injury and we had Jermaine Beckford, whose record speaks for itself.
“One of us had to be the leading striker like Garns had been and I think I have grasped it with both hands and not let go.”
Hugill getting the winner against QPR, who finished with 10 men after a red card for Luke Freeman, was a good way for him to bounce back in the aftermath missing a penalty at Wigan the week before.
Looking back at his goal, Hugill said: “It was instinct really, the corner came over and I got in front of my man.
“I hit it with my left foot and the keeper made a great save to parry it – he was making good saves all afternoon.
“The ball came back to me and I managed to tap it in.
“Every goal counts no matter how near or far out they are.
“I should have got one just after that but the ball hit my studs and bobbled over the bar.
“It was a tough game, QPR had three centre-backs in Onuoha, Perch and Lynch.
“They are all big lads and experienced Championship defenders.”
Meanwhile, PNE’s youth team play Stoke at Deepdale tonight (7pm) in the last eight of the FA Youth Cup.
Admission is free and the winners face Manchester City in the semi-finals.