Preston North End’s man-of-the-moment Tom Barkhuizen is revelling in his new starting role under Simon Grayson, and is looking to continue his run of form in tomorrow’s Lancashire derby against Blackburn Rovers.
The 23-year old made his first appearance for the Lilywhites in the 2-0 win over Brighton in January at Deepdale, following his November move from League Two outfit Morecambe.
But after his first start – and goal – in the Gentry Day loss against Fulham on the 4th of March, the former Blackpool forward has netted four goals in his last three games, and his opener against Reading last weekend earned the honours of Championship goal of the weekend.
Barkhuizen himself thinks he has done enough to keep his place in the starting line-up for the foreseeable future.
“I have had to bide my time, but the gaffer felt I deserved a start,” said Barkhuizen.
“I’d like to think that I have done myself justice in the three games with the goals I’ve scored.
“Even to just get one would’ve been nice, but to get four, especially at the weekend where I felt that was my best game in a long time, if not the best game I have ever played.
“It was just a really good feeling and hopefully there is more to come.”
Barkhuizen has played in a number of positions for North End in the last few weeks, including both wings, but his last three goals have come from him playing up-front, but the versatile forward admitted he doesn’t have a positional preference.
I said when I signed that I don’t really mind where I play, as long as I’m getting on the pitch and able to do my bit for the team,” exclaimed Barkhuizen.
“I’ve played in three or four different positions already. The gaffer knew that I could do that when I signed. I’m not complaining, I just want to keep playing and doing well.”
The Lilywhites travel 14 miles down the M65 motorway to Ewood Park tomorrow, where Tony Mowbray has got Blackburn Rovers in good league form since he took over the reins from Owen Coyle a month ago.
Rovers are unbeaten in six games since Mowbray took charge – four of those being draws – but Barkhuizen believes that despite the close proximity of the clubs, it is no different to any other game.
“If we go in there thinking too much about the game, then it affects how we will play,” said Barkhuizen.
“We don’t want to lose the game, we are six points off the play-offs. Hopefully we will go out there and give the fans something to cheer.
“It is a derby so you don’t really know what is going to happen. They are going to come out of the traps flying.
“We are just as confident as them, if not more confident at the moment so we want to go there and get the win.”