Preston North End forward Tom Barkhuizen has been named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for March.Barkhuizen made the step up from League Two to the Championship look simple with five goals and an assist in March after joining the Lilywhites from Morecambe.
Mobile and willing to run at defenders, he is capable of scoring special goals like his sweeping curler against Reading.
Preston manager Simon Grayson said: “It's an unbelievable achievement really when you look at it, it was fantastic for Aiden McGeady to win it last month but then Tom has come into the team and hit the ground running as if he has been playing in the Championship for the last five years, he's done exceptionally well.
“To win this award ahead of some of the players in the Championship at the business end of the season where all of the key players have to be playing to the best of their ability, it speaks volumes of Tom and the team as well.
“Tom will be the first to admit that his team-mates have helped him along the way but he has grasped an opportunity to get into the team and the rewards have followed from that so it's fantastic that he's got the award, the goals and the assist and hopefully we are talking about another Preston North End player winning it come the end of April now!”
Barkhuizen said: “You don't get too many months like that, it's not often that everything just seems to come together. I know that you have to enjoy it will you can because there will be times when it's not like that.
“I couldn't be happier with how things have gone for me personally, obviously I would have preferred for us to pick up a few more points and be even closer to the top six but if someone had said to me you would score five goals in four games I would have bitten their hand off.”
Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman added: “Now thriving two leagues above where he started the season, and scoring goals for fun, it looks an incredible bit of business for Preston.”
Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery said: “Morecambe’s loss has proved to be Preston’s gain; Barkhuizen took a little while to establish himself after making the step up from League Two but was handed his full debut at the turn of the month and hasn’t looked back since.
“In his four full starts for the club during March, Barkhuizen scored in every single game, forcing his manager to insert him as a first-team regular with a scintillating run of form.”
The judging panel for the Sky Bet Player of the Month comprises Sky Sports’ EFL expert Don Goodman; EFL Communications Director Mark Rowan, League Managers’ Association Director Olaf Dixon and Sky Bet Football Trading Manager Paul Lowery.