Striker ready to stake PNE claim
Striker Jordan Hugill is hoping to make his mark in the Preston team on a more permanent basis next season.
The 24-year-old will begin his third campaign at Deepdale in August, but has yet to nail down a regular starting spot.
His first season at the club was largely ruined by a serious knee injury, while last term his appearances in the Championship were, in the main, from the bench.
A quick glance at his statistics since arriving from Port Vale in 2014 shows that he has played 38 times for PNE, but only 11 of those have been starts.
Towards the end of last season, with the club’s status in the second tier assured for another year at least, manager Simon Grayson gave Hugill a chance.
He notched his first league goal of the season in the 2-1 win over neighbours Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium, before hitting the winner against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park a few weeks later.
Hugill then came off the bench in the final game of the season to rescue a point for North End against Leeds United at Deepdale.
Grayson has made no secret of his wish to strengthen the forward department, which currently includes Hugill, Joe Garner, Jermaine Beckford and long-term injury casualty Stevie May.
Palermo front man Simon Makienok is poised to arrive at the club on a season-long loan after spending the past campaign with Charlton Athletic.
Hugill knows there is likely to be plenty of competition for a starting berth next season, but believes he has reached the stage where he is ready to play a significant role.
“I had a good taste of Championship football last season, a lot of appearances off the bench, and the next step is to try and start more games,” he said.
“I’ll be continuing to work hard to achieve that and find more consistency.
“I thought I did really well in some of the matches last season – scoring the goals I did felt special.”