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First Team News

Barkhuizen Calls For Clinical Finishing

23 February 2018

Tom Barkhuizen is the club's leading goalscorer this season with seven goals to his name so far this campaign, and the forward feels it is important he and his teammates start converting more of their chances in order to turn draws into victories.

Barkhuizen has scored in three of the last five games but feels that the team need to be more clinical in front of goal in order to win the games that their performances deserve.

"I said at the start of the season that I wanted to get to double figures. Jordan [Hugill] obviously scored quite a few goals for us but the other four players had to look at themselves, myself included, and pick up the baton and start banging them in.

"Thankfully we have been quite spread over the course of the season and we have Seani coming back who was doing pretty well before he got injured. Thankfully for me I have managed to pick up three in the last few games.

"It is important that we start creating more chances and scoring more of the chances that we are creating. That has probably been the problem we have had in drawing these games, we have not put teams to bed and we need to look at ourselves and do better and hopefully we will."

On his own form, the forward continued: "I had a difficult period over Christmas, form wise, and being ill and things like that; but I did not use the illness as an excuse.

"I was disappointed with how I was playing, it was nice when I got the goal at Nottingham Forest it was like a weight off my shoulders.

"Thankfully I have been able to score a couple more since then, with the big run in now it would be nice to get keep it going to help us get into the Play-Offs."

And on the last three games, the former Morecambe man added: "Even though we have not won any of the last three, we can take positives out of them. Especially the last performance, you always go off the last performance.

"At times in the first half against Villa especially we were brilliant, we executed the game plan really well and got ourselves in front and were really unfortunate not to get the three points.

This weekend sees the visit of Ipswich Town, a side who inflicted one of just six league defeats on Alex Neil's side back in November, but Barkhuizen is just focused on winning the game in order to push up the table and not to avenge that defeat.

"It is the same as every other game. We were very disappointed in our performances, 3-0 probably did not flatter them. It was a really bad day at the office for us. It was probably the only game – maybe Villa at home – where we have been really poor and definitely did not deserve anything.

"We have lost one in 17 games and we are going into this game with a lot of confidence, it is just another game and we want to get the three points whether it is Ipswich or anyone else."

That last encounter came at the end of a tough run of results for the Lilywhites after the squad was decimated by injuries, but following that, the team went on a terrific run of form.

Speaking of the ups and downs of the season, Barkhuizen said: "It has been a strange season really for us. We started off really well and then we had that really bad run of form where we lost four in a row.

"The two international breaks have probably been key for us. The first one came and then it started off a horrific run with injuries and losing all those games. Then the second one just seemed to give us a bit of a boost and got us out of the rut and since then we have been pretty good.

"We have drawn a lot of our games out of the last 17 which is a little disappointing but if you look at the other side and we had lost 10 out of the 17 we wouldn’t be where we are now.

"We can take real positives, we have been in every game bar one or two this season and that’s the way that we play. We want to be in the game and give ourselves a chance to win."

Given the performances this season, the expectation levels are rising and Tom feels that the support of the fans will be as crucial as ever between now and May.

"If I am being honest, it is one of those where expectations are changing now from where they were at the start of the season, the change in the way that the fans look at the game.

"There are just a few times when things are not going our way, we do need that 12th man.

"If you look at Brentford at home at the start of the season, we got a couple of goals to get it back to 2-2 and they really got behind us, unfortunately it was down to us that we could not see the game out and we ended up losing the game.

"The fans know how important they are to us on the pitch, we know how important it is to get their backing and hopefully they can do it."

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