PNE winger aiming for more after getting off the mark

Tom Barkhuizen aims to move through the gears as far as goals are concerned after he scored his first of the season in Preston's win at Birmingham.

Wednesday, 20th September 2017, 7:00 am
Tom Barkhuizen celebrates with Sean Maguire after scoring against Birmingham

An ever-present starter in the Championship this term, it took him until the eighth game to find the net.

The 24-year-old hopes that is him up and running for the campaign and goals will now come on a more regular basis.

Last season, Barkhuizen scored in one big burst after joining from Morecambe.

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He scored six goals in six games to win the division’s player of the month award.

Barkhuizen scored PNE’s third goal at St Andrews, 
tapping in from six yards after Sean Maguire had put the ball on a plate for him.

“I needed one of those just to get me going,” Barkhuizen told the Post.

“Myself and Jordan Hugill were talking a few weeks ago about not having been lucky in front of goal.

“Since then, Jordan has got a couple of goals and I have scored one.

“Hopefully I can kick on from here and get a few more.

“In previous seasons, I might have been a bit more frustrated than I was before scoring on Saturday.

“Things felt like they were starting to come together and I’ve now got three assists and a goal in the last three games.”

Daniel Johnson and Hugill had already found the net when Barkhuizen got his goal against Birmingham.

Having Hugill back firing is something Barkhuizen thinks will be key to maintaining the bright start to the season.

“Jordan said himself that in the Barnsley game the other week he was a bit off the pace,” said Barkhuizen.

“You could understand that with all the speculation which had gone on.

“Against Cardiff, Jordan was back to his best and then he got the goal at Birmingham. Who knows what we can achieve now that we’ve kept hold of him?

“Jordan is so strong, he probably doesn’t look as strong as he actually is.

“I’d hate to be a centre-half playing against him, Jordan bullies you all over the place.

“That gives us the chance to get up the pitch.

“We have willing runners in myself, Sean Maguire and Josh Harrop.

“Alan Browne has got legs and can run all day, so can DJ, so having Jordan to work off is ideal for us.”

Barkhuizen is enjoying the high-pressing game employed by Alex Neil this season.

He said: “The intensity of our pressing has increased and we are also pressing a lot higher up the pitch.

“You saw at Birmingham in the second half that we were all over them.

“Once we made it 1-1, you could see were a side at the top end of the table playing with a lot of confidence.”