Preston North End striker Jayden Stockley has more goals in his sights after getting off the mark for the season
Plenty had been said about the contribution made by striker Jayden Stockley in Preston North End’s wins over Blackburn and Charlton.
He played a huge part in helping PNE turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win against Rovers three weeks ago after being introduced off the bench in the first half.
The following Sunday, Stockley was the focal point for North End’s attacking play at Charlton, earning the penalty which Paul Gallagher tucked away for a 1-0 win at The Valley.
All Stockley wanted to do after those two performances was to find the back of the net himself, something he did just four minutes into the victory over Huddersfield.
It was his first goal of the season, his first since being on target against Sheffield Wednesday at the end of April.
With that box ticked, Stockley hopes the goals will come more frequently over the coming weeks.
Stockley told the Lancashire Post: “It was a great feeling to score, it being early in the game was nice.
“We needed that win and that performance to take into the international break.
“To win three games on the bounce is very pleasing.
“For the goal, Paul Gallagher did really well.
“He got enough curl on the ball to take it round the wall and I thought it was going straight in.
“As a striker you’ve got make sure you get in the right areas should there be a rebound.
“If you look at my positioning, I’m usually there or there abouts in the six yard box.
“I think you could say it was a stooping header rather than a diving header.
“Gally had put a lot of pace on the ball and it came off the post at a good speed.
“There was the option of volleying it but I thought the safest best was to go with my head. I got my head to it and the pace of the ball meant I made a decent connection.
“We went on to play very well, we built a strong performance from that early goal.
“It was obviously pleasing to score, with that being my first goal of the season.
“I knew a goal would come and it was just a case of being patient.
“To start with it was just a case of concentrating on getting into the team, first from the bench and then starting.
“We approach all games differently, every opponent is different and the manager spends a lot of time working on the best approach.
“Sometimes a game won’t suit certain players and you have to accept you won’t start it.
“When I do get a chance it is up to me to take the opportunity.”
The Championship table makes for very decent reading at the moment for North End.
They sit second, two points behind West Bromwich Albion who are due at Deepdale on Monday, December 2 for a televised clash.
Before then, it is Derby County and Hull City away, key games as Preston look to maintain the momentum which has carried them into this lofty position.
Has the strong first three months of the season been a surprise to Stockley?
“We always had a strong belief in what we could do,” said Stockley.
“During the summer we lost Callum Robinson who was a big player for us. Sometimes it can be difficult losing a player who has been so influential.
“But what was important was that other than Callum, we kept the rest of the squad together. We know what we have in the squad and what we are capable of.
“No one is getting carried away by what we have done so far but we are pleased with how we have been playing. The aim is to carry on picking up the results and stay at the top end of the table.
“It’s a strong squad, look at the Huddersfield game, we got that win without Pearo and DJ who are big players for us.
“Ryan Ledson came in and did brilliantly, we have got options in there.
“Last season we got into a good position and looked like we would challenge for the play-offs but we ran out of steam.
“We feel like we have learned from that and are better for the experience.”
The Lilywhites beating Huddersfield before the international break was a big boost.
The fortnight’s break between games can seem a lot longer if a team has had a poor result immediately before it.
Stockley said: “Any club is a nicer place to be when you’ve had a win.
“If you lose before one of the breaks, you sometimes find yourself over-thinking things because there is not another game immediately to prepare for.
“In the last few days we’ve been able to enjoy the win, do some work on the training pitch and get some rest which is important.
“There’s been the chance to spend a lot more time with the family, relax a bit and recharge the batteries.
“We’ve now got Derby to focus on, we’ll work hard on getting ready for that game during the week.
“There is a busy spell of games coming up, we play seven times I think in December.
“Hopefully this break will get us in the right shape for that, refresh us for what is ahead.”