Preston North End winger Tom Barkhuizen appreciative of Lilywhites' backing during football shutdown

Tom Barkhuizen says he is appreciative of the support Preston North End have given the players during football’s lengthy shutdown.

Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 3:18 pm

On the sporting side of things, PNE’s staff have kept in close contact with the squad about their fitness.

Financially, North End took a decision early on to keep paying full wages and not ask the players to take a deferral.

All being well, the PNE squad are to start training on Monday ahead of the season possibly resuming in the middle of June.

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Preston North End winger Tom Barkhuizen celebrates scoring the winner against Blackburn Rovers in October 2019

Winger Barkhuizen told the Lancashire Post: “Our club have been brilliant through all this.

“Straight away on the wages side of things, the gaffer rang around us in the first week to say not to worry as the owner was continuing things as normal.

“There wasn’t going to be a deferral of wages or anything like that.

“As players we do alright and earn decent money.

Tom Barkhuizen after scoring for PNE against Stoke in February

“We still have mortgages to pay and things like that do play on your mind.

“For our owner to be in a position where he can say ‘listen lads we are going to be fine’, deserves a lot of credit.

“I speak a lot with Ryan Ledson and Joe Rafferty because before all this we used to travel in together.

“We have been saying that Preston is probably one of the best clubs to be at in the Championship at the moment.

“Okay, we might not be the biggest paid players in our league but in a situation like this, it just shows being a well-run club has its massive advantages.

“People have been living in this bubble where football constantly has money and we can spend whatever we want.

“Financial fair play has come in and a few clubs have bordered on the line of that and have had problems with that.

“We know as a club that we are going to be okay, we have an owner who to be fair to him backs the club.”

If the season restarts as planned, games will be played behind closed doors.

That is something which Barkhuizen says will take some getting used.

The 26-year-old said: “No fans being there is going to be weird. I think fans being able to come into grounds is going to be a while off.

“Maybe eventually they can figure out a way of having fans back, have reduced capacities.

“You could make it so there has to be two seats between people.”