Tom Barkhuizen on how Preston North End have become the Championship’s top scorers

Preston frontman Tom Barkhuizen in action against Manchester City
Preston frontman Tom Barkhuizen in action against Manchester City

Tom Barkhuizen attributes Preston’s improved scoring rate to a clear understanding of their attacking play and a calmness in front of goal.

The Lilywhites will resume action this weekend as the Championship’s top scorers with 23 goals from 11 games.

Five of those came in their last outing against Barnsley at Deepdale, Barkhuizen on the scoresheet that day.

He has netted four goals this season, two of those in the Championship and two in the League Cup.

Barkhuizen said: “The roles we have in the team and the understanding of them is so important.

“When I scored against Barnsley the other week, it was Daniel Johnson who nicked the ball on the left.

“DJ knew exactly where I was going to be and was able to play me in. I knew that I would get a couple of seconds on the ball and there was no need to rush my shot.

“Probably in the gaffer’s first season here and also in the first part of last season, I would perhaps have rushed it.

“But we all know exactly what is required.

“I mentioned DJ there and what a season he is having.

“When you consider we lost Callum Robinson in the summer and him and DJ had that close link-up, he has done ever so well.

“DJ is so comfortable on the ball, he’s the complete No.10 at the moment.”

Barkhuizen has played both as a winger and striker in this campaign and is happy to play in either role.

PNE manager Alex Neil has tweaked the frontline from game to game as he looked for different ways to unlock the opposition defence.

There was a run of three or four games as a striker for Barkhuizen before he moved back out wide in the Barnsley game to accommodate David Nugent starting up front. “I don’t have a preference, I just want to be starting games,” said Barkhuizen.

“If I play down the middle I will drift anyway so there’s a bit of everything to the role.

“Nuge has played up there, Billy Bodin has, so too Sean Maguire.

“My game has improved year on year since the gaffer came in.

“I would say I’m one of his trusted players now, I know my job across the frontline to a tee.”

North End resume action after the international break at Reading on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Alan Browne won his sixth senior cap for the Republic of Ireland at the weekend.

The PNE midfielder was 
a 73rd-minute substitute in the goalless draw with 
Georgia.

Preston team-mate Sean Maguire was an unused sub.

The Republic are in action again tomorrow night against Switzerland in Geneva.