Exclusive Tom Barkhuizen Preston North End column: My happy derby knack!
Scoring so early in our win over Blackburn was a big moment for me and since I have been at Preston North End that is the loudest crowd I have heard at Deepdale.
It was great to see a full stadium because that is not something which happens too often.
To get 20,000 in every week would be nice but that is not the case unfortunately.
The atmosphere after the early goal was bouncing and it was fantastic that we pushed on to get the win.
To be 2-0 ahead inside 10 minutes gave us the platform for victory.
In derby games especially, you don’t want to concede early – you try and turn the ball and not take risks.
But we took the game to Blackburn and established ourselves really well.
Fair enough, for the next 30 minutes we were on the back foot somewhat but we were still in control of the game.
The manager said at half-time that he would rather us have come in 2-0 ahead and not having much of the ball than to have the situation we did against Bolton earlier in the season when we led 2-0 but came in at 2-2.
It wasn’t the best that we conceded early in the second half but in many ways that goal helped us – it led to us pushing forward and going on to score twice to finish Blackburn off.
I’ve scored a few goals in derby games now.
There was last Saturday’s goal, the one against Wigan last month and then against Bolton on Gentry Day.
A couple of years ago I got one against Blackburn at Ewood Park.
It is not a bad habit to have, fans tend to remember the derby games so if you find yourself on the scoresheet it is a good thing.
In terms of scoring goals, my pattern is probably quite similar to last season.
I didn’t score for the first 10 games or so last year then I got a few.
For me, I suppose it is about getting consistency when it comes to scoring.
I’m on five goals in my last 10 games, which is decent and I want to kick-on from that. I feel like I’m doing well at the moment, back to doing what I do best.
The start of the season was frustrating for me and I was rightly taken out of the team for a game.
You can’t rest on the fact you played a lot of games the season before, you have to do it all over again.
The gaffer has done that with myself, Ben Davies and Alan Browne this season as maybe we weren’t hitting the form of last year.
It has worked, you look at Browney who has come back in and in my opinion been our man of the match in the Rovers and Middlesbrough games.
Being taken out of the team re-focuses you, makes you reset your goals.
Also you get a breather as this league is relentless.
In the case of Browney, Ben and myself, probably the amount of games we played last season had just caught up with us a little bit.
For me, it happened at the end of last season, while it’s been this season for those two lads.
Back to the subject of goals and we have spread them around nicely.
Callum Robinson had just hit double figures before his injury, while Browney’s goal in midweek was his sixth of the season.
Paul Gallagher, Daniel Johnson and Louis Moult have chipped in with three or four.
Last season we had a lot of 1-0 and 2-1 scorelines which was great because points were going on the board but in the last couple of months we have started to add more goals to our play.
There have been games when we’ve blown teams away with our attacking play.
Added to that, in the last nine or 10 games we have been better at the back.
Attacking-wise, we are getting in the same positions as we did last season but just being more clinical.
We go to Birmingham on Saturday and a repeat of the 3-1 win we had there last year would be nice.
If ever there was a game of contrasting halves, that was it.
In the first half we couldn’t get near them, they had a giant in midfield who caused carnage for us.
We went 1-0 down but in the second half we hit back to win 3-1.
Our performance in the second half that day was up there with the best of the season.
Birmingham hardly had a touch in our half of the pitch in the second half.
That was in the early part of the long unbeaten run we went on and the win was our first on the road.
When you look back at the video of the game and watch our goals, you can see all the fans celebrating – it was a big afternoon for us.