Backgrounder: Tom Barkhuizen – Blog

Striker Tom Barkhuizen has become the latest player to sign for Derby County after his contract with Preston North End expired.

The 28-year-old has signed a two-year contract with the Rams who are back in the third tier of English football for the first time since 1986.

Here is a little more information about our new signature:

At the sea

Barkhuizen grew up playing junior football on the Fylde Coast before signing a scholarship with Blackpool in the summer of 2009. He had impressed with the Bloomfield Road youth team but was soon on the coaching radar of the Premiership team, who accelerated it. the squad.

He made his Blackpool debut aged just 17 in a League Cup defeat to MK Dons in August 2010 before playing in the FA Cup third round against Southampton at St Mary’s in January 2011.

He signed a professional contact with the Seasiders and spent the 2011/12 campaign on loan at Hereford United, then in League Two, to gain first-team experience. He opened the scoring on his debut in a 4-1 loss to AFC Bournemouth in the League Cup, going on to score seven goals in his first 16 games.

However, it was always going to be an uphill battle to avoid relegation to the fifth tier of English football. The striker gave his best, scoring four more goals between Christmas and the end of the season, and even finished as the club’s top scorer, but he couldn’t save them from relegation.

With a full season at a competitive level under his belt, Barkhuizen signed a new contract with Blackpool but was again loaned out to the League Two opposition in order to gain first-team experience.

This time he joined Fleetwood Town, in their first season in the English Football League, and scored once in 15 games before returning to Blackpool in January.

Barkhuizen signed another one-year contract extension with Blackpool ahead of the 2013/14 campaign and after two years of development on loan he was given time in the Seasiders first team.

He made his league debut in August 2013 in a 1-0 win over Barnsley at Bloomfield Road and scored on his second league start. Ten minutes after coming on, the striker scored the game’s only goal to beat Reading 1-0 at home.

Barkhuizen scored his second goal for the club in an FA Cup loss to Bolton Wanderers and featured 15 times for the Seasiders during the campaign. If there hadn’t been an injury, it could have been more.

Due to the number of appearances made in the 2013/14 campaign, he triggered an automatic one-year contract extension but another loan spell was on the horizon for the youngster.

This time he joined Morecambe in Ligue 2 for a month but struggled to get started. He returned to Blackpool for the second half of the 2014/15 campaign but was unable to help them avoid the drop into the third tier and subsequently left the club at the end of his contract.

Thrive in adversity

Barkhuizen moved to new pastures in the summer of 2015 and signed permanently with Ligue 2 side Morecambe where he had been on loan the previous year.

He signed a two-year contract with the North West side and the new start proved to be the boost he needed as he scored seven goals in the first 12 games of the season in all competitions confused.

The striker also enjoyed a fine end to the 2015/16 campaign, scoring in three consecutive appearances as Morecambe avoided dropping to fifth in English football.

He scored 12 goals in all competitions for the Ligue 2 side, but the following campaign proved difficult. Not in the field, however. He continued where he left off scoring five times before November, but the off-field problems started to take their toll.

After Morecambe paid their wages late due to cash flow problems, the option of selling a player was offered. Barkhuizen’s contract was later cancelled, allowing him to sign for another club while the Morecambe players were then paid.

It was quite a troubling time for the forward, but he adapted well and just over a week later joined Championship side Preston North End on a two-and-a-half-year deal. After descending the divisions in search of regular football, he was back on his way.

stay in the northwest

The North West proved to be a happy place for Barkhuizen who had to wait until January 2017 to officially sign for the Lilywhites and made his debut in a 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion.

It took some time for him to get up to speed, but once he did, he hit a rich vein of form that would earn him Championship Player of the Month for March 2017.

He scored five goals including a brace against Reading and goals against Fulham, Derby County and Blackburn Rovers and provided one assist during the month. He scored again the following month in a 5-0 demolition of Bristol City at Deepdale.

He couldn’t have wished for a better start to life at his new home, and he kicked off the following campaign scoring eight times in 47 appearances.

Barkhuizen scored seven times during the 2018/19 campaign and with his contract running out he was rewarded with a new three-year contract to keep him at the club until the end of the 2021/22 season.

The 2019/20 season saw him hit double figures for Alex Neil’s side, scoring 11 times, while the following campaign he scored six goals in 47 appearances.

Entering the final year of his contract and with Ryan Lowe as the club’s new manager, he has struggled to find playing time in 2021/22. He made just 14 appearances last season with his final appearance for the club in January 2022 in a 1-0 loss to Swansea City.

Following the conclusion of his contract, Barkhuizen left Preston over the summer and became the first addition to the Derby County squad as the Rams prepare for a new chapter in their history after recently leaving administration.

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