PNE can match anyone in Championship says winger Tom Barkhuizen ahead of Wolves test

Tom Barkhuizen believes Preston have shown they can mix it with anyone in the Championship with pace-setters Wolves up next.

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Tom Barkhuizen has been a key figure for PNE this season and scored in the 1-1 draw with Brentford on Saturday

Tom Barkhuizen has been a key figure for PNE this season and scored in the 1-1 draw with Brentford on Saturday

North End have lost just one of their last 15 games in the second tier ahead of welcoming the runaway leaders and title favourites.

Saturday’s visitors to Deepdale are 12 points clear but if their 3-2 win over PNE at Molineux back in October is anything to go by, they have a real battle on their hands with Alex Neil’s side this weekend.

“We’re confident,” said Barkhuizen, who got his sixth goal of the season in the 1-1 draw at Brentford last time out.

“I think we’ve shown this season we can match anyone.

“We’ve got Wolves who are top of the league and flying but if anyone’s given them a game this season it’s probably us.

“We went there and we were unlucky to go 3-0 down. We were all looking around wondering how it was that score at the time.”

While the visit of the Nuno Espirito Santo’s side will certainly capture the imagine, Barkhuizen insists no game matters more than any other between now and the end of the season.

North End head into battle three points shy of the play-off places knowing they can afford few slip ups.

“Any game’s a big game,” said the winger.

“It’s not about the performances, it’s just about getting those three points.

“We’ve just got to stay in and around it.

“We’ve gone under the radar a bit and probably don’t get the recognition we deserve, especially from the outside.

“But that’s how we like it, teams probably don’t take us as seriously as they should do.

“That seems to be working in our favour and hopefully we can keep it going.”

Barkhuizen has been battling illness in recent weeks but is increasingly looking back to his best.

“Around the Barnsley game at Christmas I had a bit of a cold and that just sat on my chest,” said the 24-year-old.

“A week after that I got ill with a sickness bug and it just didn’t seem to leave for a few weeks.

“I get a bit of asthma too so I’ve had everything really.

“I went to the doctor last week to just make sure everything was okay and I’ve managed to play 90 minutes in the last couple of games.

“At Brentford I was managing to sprint around at the end as the lone striker.

“I know a big part of my game is high power running and doing work for the team off the ball.

“Thankfully I’m back to doing what I’m good at and I’m feeling good.

“I’m ready for the run in and hopefully we can do something that everyone’s going to shout about.”