Tom Barkhuizen delighted with how he is developing as a Preston North End player

Preston's Tom Barkhuizen applauds the fans at the end of the victory against Blackburn
Preston's Tom Barkhuizen applauds the fans at the end of the victory against Blackburn

Tom Barkhuizen believes his development as a Preston player has been helped by a more level-headed approach.

It is coming up three years since the attacker signed for PNE from Morecambe and in that time he has become a key player at Deepdale.

The 26-year-old has made 116 appearances and scored 28 goals in that time – two of those goals coming in North End’s 3-2 win over Blackburn last Saturday.

With him also on target in the 1-1 draw with Leeds, he is enjoying a mini purple patch.

Barkhuizen said: “I think it is experience which is helping me develop.

“I’ve played about 120 games here which is a decent amount.

“When I signed I was 23 and came from League Two.

“I started quite well and people just expected that I would continue that way but it doesn’t work like that.

“You get good and bad spells along the way and you learn how to deal with them,

“I have particularly learned to deal with the lows better than I used to.

“You can’t go home, sit there and analyse every part of your game – you would end up mentally draining yourself.

“I probably did that at the start of last season when the results weren’t going for us, I was over-analysing things.

“I’ve found that the best thing to do is go home, spend time with your family, relax and then get ready for the next game.

“I’m lucky enough to have a very supportive family.”

Barkhuizen has found the net seven times this season, five of those in the league.

His performance in the Blackburn game saw him make the EFL team of the weekend.

PNE came back from 2-0 down to beat Rovers, with Barkhuizen saying that was a good example of how flexible the team have been of late.

The introduction of Jayden Stockley with less than half-an-hour played, together with a change of tactics, was a big factor in the win.

Said Barkhuizen: “We’ve shown we can play so many different ways.

“Before the international break we absolutely ripped Barnsley to shreds for 60 minutes.

“Then against Leeds last week we sat off a bit more than we would usually do.

“We played a little bit more compact because we had to.

“The fact we can change so easily and so willingly is a real strength we have, there are not many teams who can do that.”

North End head to London on Sunday lunchtime to take on Charlton Athletic at The Valley.

Ticket sales are at the 800-mark – impressive to say the least with the noon start preventing fans travelling by train to the capital.