There were mixed emotions for Tom Barkhuizen after the 1-1 draw with Leeds United, after his goal was cancelled out by a late Leeds equaliser.
The forward made it two goals in three games to open the scoring, and although he was frustrated as the Lilywhites were unable to keep the lead and take three points, the 26-year-old feels the squad can take plenty of confidence from their performance against one of the top sides in the Championship.
Speaking to iFollow PNE after the game, Barkhuizen said: "I think we spoke in the dressing room after the game and if you finish above them this season, you’ll probably go up.
"We know they’re a really good team and the manager’s come in over the last couple of years and has got them playing a really good way of football and it’s tough to defend against.
"I think for 88 minutes or something, we were really, really good and I think the overriding feeling at the end is disappointment because we’ve got the goal, we’ve got in front, we’ve put so much into the game and then it’s another late goal to concede.
"For 88 minutes we were really good, they might have had one or two chances which they probably should have put away, but in the main we were really good and the overriding feeling at the end is one of frustration.
"We nearly got the winner at the end, they’ll say they should have had a penalty, but it was a real good game and a really good game to be involved in as a player and that’s what you want to do – test yourselves against the best teams and we’ve shown that we’re up there.
"It was a tough game, both teams played well and we both used our different styles to how we do and 1-1, it’s fair." He continued.
"Obviously we would have wanted the Pottsy header to go in and they would have wanted the penalty and the chance to score. It’s tough, but we can hold our heads high – we’ve gone toe to toe with probably the best team in the league and we’ve shown ourselves that we’re up there and we deserve to be up there.
"We’re not up there by a fluke, we’re playing really well, apart from Saturday we’ve been on a great run of form and we need to go into Blackburn at the weekend and go again."
Barkhuizen showcased his pace once again to get his fifth goal of the season, bursting in to the box to meet the ball from Maguire to slot home the opener, and he was delighted to take the chance when it came along.
"As a wide man in a game like that, you pray for a counter attack like that. As soon as I seen Browney get it, the full back had gone really high, which is how they play, and sometimes it’s a case of ‘How far do I have to go back?’ Seani’s movement was brilliant, he sucks him under and gets him in behind and I looked and I was free.
"It’s a great ball, he’s delayed it just enough – I think I’ve pointed and made his mind up for him, but he gave us that time to do that and thankfully I managed to put it away.
I’m in pretty decent form at the moment goals-wise and my three goals have come in pretty quick succession so hopefully I can get another one. I like a derby goal so hopefully I can keep that going."
Watch the full interview with Barky on iFollow PNE now by clicking on the video above.