Three years at Preston North End for Tom Barkhuizen - two goal of the month awards, 25 goals and a possible South Africa call-up
Tom Barkhuizen has the eye for a spectacular goal with the Preston North End attacker now having two Championship goal of the month awards on his mantelpiece.
Same foot, same ground, just a different penalty area and two-and-a-half years apart.
Barkhuizen’s curling finish which settled PNE’s derby clash with Blackburn won him the October award from league sponsors Sky Bet.
In March 2017, he won the award with a fine strike in a 3-0 win over Reading at Deepdale.
Both goals were struck first time with his right foot, last month’s against Rovers the better of the two, with him having to open up his body to guide it into the net from the left-hand of the box.
Winning the goal of the month award was a nice way for Barkhuizen to celebrate his third anniversary as a North End player.
He agreed to join Preston in November 2016, signing a pre-contract agreement.
His contract at Morecambe was cancelled by mutual consent, the Shrimps having been in dire financial straits at the time.
Morecambe retained the right to get compensation for him and the fee they received enabled them to meet their wage bill at the time.
Barkhuizen trained with North End after signing the pre-contract agreement but did not become eligible to play until January 1, 2017.
His introduction to action at PNE was a slow-burner, making five appearances as a substitute.
Barkhuizen’s first start in a Preston shirt came against Fulham at Craven Cottage – and he was on target that day.
He found the net four games on the spin, scoring twice in the Reading match when he won the goal of the month.
The following campaign, Barkhuizen found the net eight times, then last season he scored seven.
It must be noted a knee injury brought his season to a halt at the start of March.
He is on seven this season already and should make double figures.
In the last few days, the possibility of him playing international football for South Africa has again been raised – he qualifies through his grandad.
It was a subject first raised in March 2018 but has been on the backburner since then.
His focus is on PNE’s next game at Derby on Saturday, Pride Park a ground he scored at to secure a 1-1 draw in March 2017.