Jordan Hugill will join the Preston ‘100 club’ when he steps out against Brentford at Deepdale.
The striker has reached the ‘century of appearances’ mark three years and four months after joining North End in 2014.
At times it has been a bumpy road for Hugill but over the last 12 months or so he has established himself as a key element in the PNE team.
Snapped up from Port Vale for £25,000 training compensation, he made his Lilywhites debut in the 2-0 League Cup win at Rochdale in August 2014.
His first goal came in the next round against boyhood club Middlesbrough – a big moment for the local lad at the Riverside Stadium.
Hugill’s Preston career stalled in September 2014 when he suffered a serious knee injury in a 3-1 defeat at Walsall.
He had been red-carded in that game for violent conduct but since the first half had been feeling discomfort in his knee.
Surgery was to rule him out for nearly six months and when he returned, Hugill was loaned out, first to Tranmere and then Hartlepool to regain match-fitness.
The Tranmere loan was not a success but the one on Teesside was, with Hugill scoring the goal which kept them in the Football League. He returned from the loan spell at Pools to take his place on the bench for North End’s play-off final win at Wembley.
During 2015/16, Hugill gradually established himself in the squad, although a red card at MK Dons early in the season set him back.
Last season was the front-man’s breakthrough season though, making the centre-forward role his own.
He finished as top scorer with 13 goals, winning the goal of the season award for his solo effort at Aston Villa.
To date, Hugill has found the net 27 times for Preston, 20 of those in the league, six in the League Cup and one in the JPT Trophy.
The question North End supporters are asking is how far beyond the 100-game mark will Hugill get?
Ipswich, Birmingham, Wolves and Reading have all put bids in for him since the start of the year, the offer from Reading reaching £8m.
He handed in a transfer request a few days before the end of the transfer window in August, one which was promptly rejected.
To his credit, Hugill does not seem to have allowed the speculation to weigh him down. Three goals in the last three games have moved him on to seven goals for the season and hopefully there are plenty more where those came from.
With thanks to Martin Atherton for the stats.