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First Team News

Tom Barkhuizen On Current Challenges

23 April 2020

Preston North End forward Tom Barkhuizen joined team-mates Joe Rafferty and Ryan Ledson for a special car school Vodcast earlier in the week.

And the frontman admitted he was missing his travel companions and the journeys too and from training at Springfields.
 
“The most challenging thing has been finding something to do,” he said of life in lockdown. “You are allowed out to do your exercise for an hour or so, but it is tougher when you are used to being out of the house for a lot longer.
 
“The drive in brings so much to your day that you don’t even realise, but I imagine there are a lot of people in a lot worse positions than we are.
“We know we have something to look forward to when we get back and that is our main endgame. You do start looking to that next game and realise how much you enjoy it.”
However, he is aware that football is not the priority at the moment: “When you are doing your job constantly, all you are thinking about it what you have to do, but when you get a time to think about things like the NHS, you get to reflect on the fact that the amount of work they do, they don’t get rewarded for and maybe that now will open up a lot more people’s eyes.
 
“When the country have needed them, they have been there; but the country needs them all the time, not just in a time of crisis.
 
“The whole point of having them, is to use for our benefit, but they have been treated poorly and maybe this will allow them to get what they deserve, because without them, where would we be?”
 
The former Morecambe man admits that his own fitness work will change considerably when a fully confirmed return date is provided by the football authorities: “From a fitness point of view, I find it difficult to find any motivation when we don’t have a return date.
 
“Whereas in the summer you know you have three or four weeks to rest and then a few weeks to graft before doomsday! Now it is a case of ‘when do I start?’ which is tough.
 
“The gaffer and Tommy Little rang us and from my point of view, I had to use this time as a break.
 
“Once we get a date that’s when the effort and grind will come to make sure I am ready. There’s no day and night any more, it is just a constant cycle, but football isn’t the priority at the moment, you can’t be selfish and think about yourself, you have to make sure everyone else is okay, we want the country to get through it and then we can look forward.
“On the large scale of things football isn’t important, the health of everyone in this country is important and that is the priority and what people are thinking about.”
When the team do return, the No.29 thinks that the squad will be in a good position, physically and mentally to tackle the challenge of nine big games and feels the pressure will be on the big clubs.
 
“From a team and a club point of view, it won’t be too bad, because we’ll have one or two players back from injury and therefore, we’ll be in a stronger position. No doubt other teams will be as well, but it is not a bad thing, because we have had time to assess what the season has been so far and purely from a football viewpoint you look at these nine games as even more important than they were before.
 
“You have had time to look back at the season, see what we have done well and what we haven’t.
 
“I am sure that being the person he is, the gaffer will have watched every game and every team many times already and analysed them in massive depth and we have a chance to go and achieve something that we have been trying to do from the start of the season.
 
“We are still sixth in the league, we are in a great position to go and do something special and hopefully all our focus on that will be straight on that as soon as we are back.
 
“As a team, individually and collectively, we won’t see it as pressure. As a team we have players who have come from a lot of places that don’t have those players, we have played in situations in our lives where we are playing for our careers.
 
“We have a good mentality in the dressing room where a lot of players have experienced that. It is a game of football and yes, it can change your life, and everyone wants to play in the Premier League, but a game is a game and as a club and a team we don’t have the financial pressure that we need to go up.
“We do have the expectation that we want and need to go up, which is quite right, but for a lot of teams – especially with what has happened – it will be the be all and end all at their clubs, which isn’t a nice thing to have.
“Pressure is a big thing for certain clubs and it is only going to grow in this situation for those teams and we’ll be sitting in a pretty decent position where we can hopefully use it and get us to the Premier League,” he added.

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