PNE in Numbers: Race to overhaul Hugill

Sean Maguire was on target against Fulham
Sean Maguire was on target against Fulham

The race is on to be Preston’s top scorer and wrestle the honour away from a player now plying his trade 200 miles away.

Six weeks on from his £9.5m move from Deepdale to West Ham’s bench, Jordan Hugill remains the leading scorer at PNE with 10 goals in all competitions.

Eight of those came in Championship action, the other two were in the League Cup defeat at Accrington Stanley.

It is that pair at Accy which keeps Hugill at the head of the pack.

Tom Barkhuizen and Sean Maguire have drawn level with his league tally and will no doubt overtake sooner rather than later.

The easy money would be on Maguire to finish as North End’s top scorer at the rate he is going.

For him to have eight in his first season at this level of football, of which he has spent four months on the sidelines, is decent going.

The Irishman was just warming up nicely to life at Deepdale when he suffered that bad hamstring injury in the autumn.

He had netted four times up to then, his confidence growing by the game.

Maguire is obviously a man looking to make up for lost time with how he has picked up where he left off since returning to action.

Four goals in 133 minutes on the pitch against Bolton, Bristol City and Fulham is pretty good going.

Three of them being from close range is something which cannot be ignored.

Both goals at Bolton were netted inside the six-yard box, his header last week against Fulham just a yard or two further out.

How Preston have missed that poacher-type, snaffling up bits and pieces with a ruthless efficiency.

While the limelight will be on Maguire for goals, the contribution of Barkhuizen in front of goal cannot be overlooked.

Eight goals from a wide position is decent indeed and his strike at Bolton was the best goal of the game, running on to a great ball from Callum Robinson to shoot home.

In terms of his scoring, his is a similar pattern to that of Maguire.

There has not been any injury for Barkhuizen but his form did dip either side of Christmas due to illness.

After a slow start to the season goals-wise, he scored four between September and November.

Barkhuizen then had to wait until the end of January to net again, that the night before Hugill left. He has since scored against Brentford, Aston Villa and Bolton.