Preston North End frontman targets more goals in season ahead

Tom Barkhuizen
Tom Barkhuizen

Tom Barkhuizen is chasing double figures of goals as he aims to help Preston North End mount a promotion push.

The 25-year-old netted eight last term before the goals dried up in the last couple of months of the campaign.

North End only missed out on the top six by two points in May and sharper play along the whole of the forward line will improve their chances of pushing higher in 2018/19.

Barkhuizen, who operates on either wing or as a striker, told the Post: “We have to learn to put teams away, something we didn’t always do last year.

“Defensively we are quite sound but we need to be that bit smarter up front.

“We’ll hopefully have Sean Maguire available for the full season, he’s a focal point No.9 and every good at that.

“Louis Moult has settled in and hopefully Graham Burke can hit the ground running with us after joining during the summer.

“Billy Bodin has had six months here, while myself and Callum Robinson need to add more goals.

“Callum scored seven, I got eight, both of us are targeting double figures.”

Barkhuizen hit the goal trail in the midweek friendly with Cobh Ramblers, netting a first-half hat-trick.

Friendly or not, the treble was most welcome for him.

“I didn’t play that well in the first two friendlies so it was good to get going against Cobh,” said Barkhuizen.

“To put three away was very pleasing and hopefully I can crack on from here.

“We’ve scored 18 goals in our three games to date which is very pleasing.

“Yes, they are friendlies but some teams still struggle in them.

“The manager drives us on in these games, he is not one who wants us to rest on our laurels in any shape or form.

“In two of the games we have been four or five goals up by half-time but have gone on to score again in the second half which is good.

“He sees the bigger picture and wants us to be 100% on our game so that we are ready for the start of the season.”

PNE return to Deepdale this afternoon to face West Ham, before playing host to Burnley on Monday night.

They play the two Premier League clubs on the back of their training camp at Fota Island.

Barkhuizen said: “It was great in Ireland, we worked hard and having all the lads together all week was good.

“We got a lot of work done on the tactical side, that was a big focus of the trip.

“Our fitness is good and we all had bikes to get about.

“I don’t mind cycling but the hills were quite tough, I haven’t got the power like some of the lads!

“We’ve got two weeks to the start of the season and that is where our focus is at.”