Jayden Stockley is looking for consistency as he hopes to make himself more of a fixture in the PNE starting line-up.
The targetman has only started six games so far this season for the Lilywhites, but has featured in 17 games in total in the Championship, with two further appearances in the League Cup.
Stockley is in a trickier situation than most in the North End squad, very much in a ‘horses for courses’ type in that the game has to suit North End’s No.20 for him to be deployed.
Often thrown on in the hope of him changing the game, as he did against Blackburn at Deepdale, the former Exeter man says it is about making an impact, although he’s wanting to be a more constant threat for the opposition.
He said: “The tactics are different when you come on. Normally in my case you’re coming on and trying to change things quickly. You’re normally a goal down or a goal up and we’re looking to defend a lead.
“Playing from the start can relax you more and you can build into the game but as someone who plays the way I do, you’ve got to learn both sides.
“I’ve got to learn quickly that when I do come on, for five, 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes, how quickly you can affect the game.
“It’s about trying to impose yourself instantly and try to make a real nuisance of yourself and try to bring others into play.
“That’s something that I have to do, that is something that I feel like I’m trying to desperately to do.
“I feel like I have done well but I’ve just got to be a consistent threat, someone you can rely on to keep doing the right things. That’s something I’m looking to build on. “
Setting the tone early in his performance is important to Stockley, who feels his is in a good place with his game at the moment.
Timing is key for him and having been in and out of the team throughout his time at Deepdale, that is what he finds most important to keep right up to speed.
“You have to make those right decisions early on, just to gain that momentum in the game,” he said.
“If you make some sloppy mistakes early on, if your timing is not right jumping-wise, that is something that is probably the hardest to get the hang of. If you’re not playing a lot, the timing’s the first one.
“When I come back for pre-season, that’s the thing that’s off, the timing of my jumps. I feel like I’ve got a good rhythm at the moment.
“I’m not some 6’5” monster, I’m coming up against people at a similar height to me. It’s all about timing, getting on the angle and getting into the right places on the pitch.
“There’s no point me standing in places where I can’t affect the game, it’s about making the right sort of angles for players to hit me.
“We’ve got great legs around to try and get on the end of things. We’ve had so many chances in the last few games, it’s just a matter of inches at the moment.
“Things tend to look worse when things aren’t going for us. It’s about being clinical but also taking a breather sometimes in front of goal, things will get back to how they were.”
With Norwich making the long trip for the third round of the FA Cup this weekend, the 26-year-old is hoping for a repeat of last year’s 3-1 win at Deepdale over the eventual champions.
Stockley rated that performance as good as anything PNE did in the last campaign and sees the cup contest as a nice break from the league.
“The cup is always great and to come away from league form and to pick a win up in the cup might be a good break for us,” he said.
“We’ve got such high objectives this year that an FA Cup run should be part of that as well.
“We should be able to compensate for that with the squad that we’ve got.
“Premier League sides do look to make changes but with the way squads are nowadays they have quality everywhere so it’s going to be something we’re prepared for.
“It’s going to be a tough game but last season at home against them we were fantastic so it’ll be a good chance to test ourselves again. The lads were fantastic that night, that was probably our best performance of the season.
“In the FA Cup, I got given a matchday ball two seasons or so ago. It had all the scorers’ names on it so that was quite cool.
“I think I scored five in the first three rounds – that was a nice touch actually, to get something to remember that by.
“I haven’t had too much luck in the FA Cup, that was the best we’d done at Exeter, we lost against West Bromwich Albion in the end.”
“In Scotland, though, I got to both cup finals, I got to play at Hampden Park twice against Celtic. It did have the same feeling as the FA Cup, the atmosphere in the semi-final and final were amazing.”