As Preston North End’s visit to Blackburn Rovers looms large, Tom Barkhuizen will be eyeing a return to the starting line-up as he looks to maintain an impressive derby scoring record.
The winger has netted five goals in the eight derbies he has played in since joining PNE from Morecambe.
He started last week’s 1-1 draw with Bristol City on the bench, joining the action in the 74th minute.
That was due to a tactical change from Alex Neil, with the North End boss opting to go with a more solid midfield at the expense of width.
Barkhuizen’s first taste of a derby with PNE was as a late substitute in a 0-0 draw at Wigan Athletic in February 2017.
A month later, he found the net in the 2-2 draw with Blackburn at Ewood Park – one best remembered for Aiden McGeady’s equaliser in stoppage time.
Last season, Barkhuizen scored in the Gentry Day 3-1 win at Bolton, with the reverse fixture at Deepdale having been a goalless draw.
The 25-year-old did not net in the 2-2 draw against Bolton earlier in the season but has scored in the three local games since.
He opened the scoring in the 4-0 victory over Wigan and set North End on the way to their 4-1 win against Blackburn with a goal after 67 seconds.
Barkhuizen scored PNE’s second goal in the 2-1 win at Bolton last month.
Barkhuizen has found the net seven times this season, six in the Championship and one in the League Cup.
He is PNE’s third highest scorer behind Alan Browne and Callum Robinson.
Daniel Johnson’s goal in the Bristol City game was his sixth of the season.
It was Johnson who came into the side for Barkhuizen last week.
Neil said: “We knew they would sit in their shape and if we had played Tom he holds his width and that would have left us vulnerable in that area.”