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Club News

The Battle For The Shirt

18 October 2016

Jordan Hugill has a habit of enjoying the big games. He scored in the big away derbies at Bolton and Blackburn last season and already this season has scored live on Sky, a screamer against Cardiff and then in front of the biggest crowd of the season so far, last time out at Deepdale against Aston Villa.

And with a month where we play the current top four in the Championship and have a fourth round cup tie in front of possibly 50,000 fans up in his native north east, he is relishing what October could bring.

However, the 24-year-old is well aware that he has to keep improving with every training session and every game, because there are plenty of people breathing down his neck wanting to be selected by the manager to start in these big matches.

“I’m doing everything I can to keep this run of goals going,” he told The One And Only when we sat down at Springfields during the international break. “I’m doing the right things off the pitch, I’m training hard still and I’m still doing everything I did when I was out the team - doing the best I can which is how I was brought up to be.

“Whenever you’ve got the chance you have to do the best you can and hopefully I can keep the scoring run going and take it away from home and go from there.

“We’ve got a tough few games coming up and Huddersfield are top of the league. They are doing really well and they were a good team when they came here last year. But opposition teams know there is no easy game at Deepdale anymore. They are going to have to fight if they want the three points and they know they are going to be in for a game from the start so we are going to have to give it to them.

“Personally it will give me a good gauge as to how I can play against top defenders. The two in the last home game against Villa [James Chester and Tommy Elphick] have been there and done it in the Premier League and I felt that I did really well against them. It gives you a good gauge against where you want to be as a player. So when you play against these bigger teams you want to test yourself against the best players. It makes you feel good as a player if you are getting the better of them.

“It’s also always good when you’ve got a full stadium of fans, and home fans behind you. You can feel the atmosphere when you are playing especially when someone scores and you get the whole stadium behind you.

“What I am looking for now is to keep scoring goals and keep the shirt. I want to do all I can do to make someone have to take that shirt off me and not just give it away by myself. There’s a lot of quality in the dressing room; we’ve got Doyler in the dressing room, Simon, Becks and we’ve got Stevie coming back.

“There are a lot of quality strikers there, but all I need to do is just keep playing how I’m playing, scoring goals and hopefully I will keep the shirt. That’s what I want to do, I want to keep the performances that good that they’ve got no reason to leave me out.”

The frontman has played a patient game since his arrival from Port Vale in June 2014 and having recently signed a new three-year deal at Deepdale he admits biding his time and is now happy to be contributing to the team.

“As I have said in many interviews before, I was just waiting for my chance and I felt like I was ready for it this season,” he continued. “It was a matter of just being patient and then when the chance came along just taking it. I’m doing my upmost to keep the shirt and staying in the starting XI.

“As a striker you want to show off your abilities, but at the end of the day a goal is a goal. So regardless of how it goes in it doesn’t really matter to me as long as it does go in and I’m in those positions get goals.

“At the start of the season the team performances were there and we were working hard and nothing has changed in that regard, but it is just that a bit of luck has come our way. I said it earlier in the season we needed a bit of luck, the balls to bounce different ways for us and it’s been coming our way. It’s been shown by the last so many performances that we have had and we have won.

“It’s good for the fans, they pay the money to come to the home games every week and then it’s good for them to see the team winning at home as well. We have turned Deepdale into a fortress again. Teams will not be looking forward to coming here. They know they are going to be in for a scrappy game; to come away with the points they are going to have to work hard.

“No team is going to come here and think it is going to be an easy game now. They know they are going to have to work really hard to try and take any points from us at home.

“Look at the Villa game; the amount of money they have spent and the players they have brought in and we turned them over. They weren’t even there really, it shows how a great team spirit and working hard get results. It pushes you onto be a better player.”

You can read plenty more from Jordan, plus features with Liam Grimshaw, Ben Pringle, Jermaine Beckford, Chris Maxwell and former North End and Huddersfield Town centre half Chris Lucketti.

There’s also all our regular features and plenty on our opponents in the 100-page edition of The One And Only. The programme will be on sale from Wednesday afternoon from the Sir Tom Finney Stand ticket office or from sellers inside and outside the ground on matchday.


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