Connor Simpson was pleased to make a goalscoring start to life with Preston North End after he netted a hattrick in the youth team’s 5-2 win against Blackpool.
It was the striker’s first appearance for the club at any level after making the switch from Hartlepool United earlier this month to join up with Alex Neil’s first team squad.
The 17-year-old was delighted with how his first outing for the club panned out, opening the scoring for Nick Harrison’s team inside ten minutes before netting the Lilywhites’ third and fourth goals to put PNE 4-2 up in the second half.
“It's a good way for me to start in my first game for Preston North End and I think I did well to get the goals,” the young striker told PNE.com.
“I had two chances before my first goal where I could have scored, but I did score after those and we were away after that. They scored before half-time and the game was on again, but in the second-half we really put the pressure on them and put some more goals in the back of the net.
“Every goal I scored put us in the lead or further in the lead, so it was great to put the team ahead and kick on from there and then get the fourth and fifth after we went ahead again. We could have won by more in the end, but you have to finish your chances.
“I need to do it every day in training, not just on a weekend. I need to show in training that I can be the same and put myself about and work hard to do my best.”
Simpson was also grateful for the opportunity to build up his match fitness, having not played competitively since featuring for former club Hartlepool on New Years’ Day.
“I haven’t played in about a month now, I haven’t had a full 90 minutes so it’s good to get a bit of fitness in the tank and get some of the cobwebs off.
“It’s just about playing as much as I can really and getting as many minutes in the tank as I can. I played the full 90 minutes today, so it was really good to finish the game.
“I just want to learn more, there’s obviously still a lot to learn being a young player. I think with the more training I have and the more games I play, everything will come in time, I just need to train as much as I can and work as hard as I can.
“You learn from every game and I’ll have a look back at the clips and be able to learn from this game as well.”
Simpson has trained with the first team squad since his move to North End, and was therefore pleased by the welcome he received from the youth team players, many of whom he had not met before the game.
“All the lads were class from when I came in and obviously not knowing them, they made me feel welcome and getting those three goals is a really good start for me.
“They’ve all mucked in and done well as a team today and helped me when I needed it. It’s obviously hard coming into a team and not knowing the lads and playing with them straight away, but we’ve done really well today.
“I didn’t really know them coming in and the coaches were helping me to get to know them, but it’s hard when there’s ten other players out there. But after the first 20 minutes or so, I got to know what the lads’ strengths are and that sort of thing; they’re all really good players.
“We tried to play to everyone’s strengths, they tried to play the ball up to me and then the players linking up around me, that’s what they’re all good at.”