Preston North End forward Tom Barkhuizen says that the players are determined to avoid an unwanted record this weekend.
The No.29 revealed in his pre-match interview with iFollow PNE that skipper Alan Browne had made him aware that if they didn’t win their last two home games, they would set a record for lowest number of home wins in a season.
But with victory over Derby County, they can avoid that, if they defeat Play-Off secure Barnsley at Deepdale on Saturday afternoon and win Championship status secured, this is giving them plenty of motivation ahead of the visit of Valerian Ismael’s side.
“Most importantly, we want to win because we don’t want to have that record of lowest number of home wins in a season, first and foremost,” he told the club’s online channel.
“It will also be good to know it will be the last game with no-one there; it is not the same with no atmosphere, it is difficult to get the same levels as normal, so let’s get it out of the way, get the three points and move on.
“It was actually Browney who raised it [the possible record] before the Derby game; he mentioned it to me and a couple of others and we don’t want that on our CV. I know these records aren’t important, long term and no-one will pay attention to it, but as a group we don’t want it.
“I know we have done well away from home, where we have picked up ten wins, and the only comforting thing is that you can almost have this season as a void from home and away, as there is no-one there, but either way, we want to try and get the win this weekend.”
‘Barky’ also feels that a positive result in both the last two games, can lay down an important marker for the 2021/22 campaign: “Going into next season, if we can take six or four points out of the next two games, it will have been one heck of a return from the last eight games and it gives us confidence going into next year,” he continued.
“We don’t know what the summer is going bring in terms of players coming in and going out, so it could be that the majority of the squad who is here goes ahead next year and if you go into it on the back of a tough six months, it doesn’t put you on the front foot.
“The fact that we have picked up some good results gives everyone a lift and it shows that we still have that quality that we need to get wins at this level, because there was a time where we are really struggling and people thought we were going to go down, so it is nice to have a bit of confidence back and showing what we can do on a consistent basis.”
The opponents on Saturday have defied the odds to secure a top six slot with two games still to go and the former Morecambe man feels they will be a team that is feared by the other three in the end of season lottery.
“Barnsley will be a tough game because they are in the Play-Offs and they will want to keep momentum going. They won’t want to sit back and think ‘we’ve made it’ and take a defeat and wait for the Play-Offs.
“It has been good for us that we have had so many competitive games, because if you play against someone with nothing to play for, they can play with a hell of a lot more freedom.
“All the games are interesting at this stage of the season and more often that not over the last six games, we have come out on top.
“The way that they play shows that you don’t have to play a certain way to get results and to be successful at this level – they are not a Brentford, a Bournemouth or a Swansea, who all play a similar style of football.
“I would imagine that none of them want to play Barnsley, as they do play a different way; they are aggressive - and it would be some story if they go up,” he added.
There’s loads more from Tom in the video interview available for free by clicking on the video at the top of the page.
This weekend’s commentary team sees former PNE forward Brett Ormerod joining Jonathan Breeze for full match coverage from 2.30pm. You can watch live and exclusively on iFollow PNE. Click here now to sign up and a match pass for £10.