SA Players Abroad: Tom Barkhuizen aiming for double figures with Preston North End


Preston North End forward Tom Barkhuizen, who is eligible to represent Bafana Bafana on the international stage, has revealed his lofty targets for the season after finding the net again on Tuesday.

The Blackpool-born striker delivered another match-winning performance for Preston earlier this week when his volley from the edge of the area helped his side progress to the next round of the League Cup with a 2-1 win over fellow Championship side Derby County.

Barkhuizen's strike was his second in as many games in the competition for the campaign, and the 27-year-old revealed after the match that he is hoping to build on his current form to break the double-figures barrier for goals scored this season.

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"Yeah, I think it should be [the goal to hit double figures]. Last year, I fell short and should've probably got three or four more," Barkhuizen said following the match, as reported by LancsLive.

"I've always been around the eight or nine mark and I know I got 11 last season, but I didn't really count the cup. North of 10 should be the minimum required to be honest, from all of the forward players. We get into such good situations in pretty much every game and that's kind of the little bit we've been lacking for quite a while.

"It obviously didn't help when Jordan [Hugill] left us a few years ago, and then Robbo [Callum Robinson] leaves, but there's a few of us that have been here for a long time now and we know how each other play.
Scotty [Scott Sinclair] has come in and he's given us a different dimension, Josh [Harrop] is playing more and more, Billy [Bodin] is back, so we know we can get in the situations, it's just putting them away.

Watch every angle of Tom Barkhuizen's long-range volley in the video below

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"But that's why it's the hardest job in football and why the strikers get paid the most – whether it's a tap-in or a 20-yard screamer. We're working so hard, it's not a case of everyone moping around, frustrated that we've not signed anyone and with everyone talking on the outside.

"We've got what we've got and we know that if we go into the season with the current strikeforce, everyone is more than capable of scoring 10 goals each – it's just about going out on the pitch and doing it, and hopefully we'll be able to do that."

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With the exception of Khanya Leshabela, Kgaogelo Chauke and Nikola Tavares, who are yet to make their Premier League debuts with Leicester City, Southampton and Crystal Palace, respectively, no South Africa-eligible player is playing higher up in the English football pyramid than Barkhuizen this season.

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki previously admitted that the forward's performances in the Championship had seen him pop up on the selectors' radar, and that a potential call-up to the national team set-up could follow in the future.

"When dealing with players who did not grow up in South Africa‚ you need to be careful on how you integrate them into the system. If he is interested to play for Bafana‚ we will have to see how we facilitate the necessary logistics because he is a good player," Ntseki said last year.