Tom Barkhuizen is hoping to put on a show for Preston North End fans against Rotherham United this weekend.
The clash against the Millers on Saturday afternoon is the Lilywhites’ last at Deepdale for the 2016/17 season following a campaign which has seen North End perform superbly on home turf.
There was a defeat last time out in PR1, Norwich City leaving 3-1 winners ten days ago on Easter Monday, but the 24-year-old forward wants the team to put that result behind them and leave the fans cheering after facing Rotherham.
“If we can get a good result on Saturday, it’d be nice to give the home fans something to cheer about because Norwich wasn’t a good day all round,” the former Morecambe man told PNE PlayerHD. “We need the fans to keep coming back to keep the club going in the right direction.
“It just wasn’t us, especially in the first-half. Was it a hangover from the Huddersfield game? You could maybe say so. It killed our Play-Off hopes – we’d been giving 150% for eight months of the season and you get killed with a debatable decision. And looking back on it, it was ridiculous.
“We know we’ve given everything and we’ve put on some really good performances. Since I’ve been here, the home performances have been pretty good. I hear from the lads that the style of play is a lot better at home this season which is what the fans want to see.
“We want to be an entertaining team but we also need to be solid at the back. I think at home we have found a pretty good balance of that and hopefully we can keep that going for years to come to keep the fans happy coming to watch us at home.”
Starting against a Rotherham side that has been relegated to League One for next season before travelling to Wolves the following Sunday, Barkhuizen wants the Lilywhites to end the season with as many points as possible.
“They know that they’re down, they’re planning for next season and they’ve probably got players fighting for contracts. I think they picked up their first win a while the other day, so that’s perfect timing for them coming to us as we’ve been struggling a little bit.
“We know how strong we are at home and how strong we’ve been at home all season, it’s the form at Deepdale that’s got us up to where we’ve been.
“It would be nice to put on a good show this weekend and then end on a positive at Wolves. We’re not settling, we know we don’t have anything to play for regarding the Play-Offs or a relegation fight, but we want to finish as high as we can and hopefully with two wins we can maybe finish eighth or ninth.”
As well as that determination to finish as high as possible in the Championship table, the added motivation for Barkhuizen is to reward North End fans for their loyal support this term.
“It is our way of saying thanks for your support for the whole season. At times, they’ve got behind us when we’ve been struggling and it’s kind of turned the game around.
“Hopefully we can sell a lot of tickets and they can come and show their appreciation to us as well that we have given everything we’ve got for the whole season. Then we look forward together next season and hopefully finish a little bit higher.
“Hopefully we can go out, show what we’re made of and give the fans something to cheer about.”