It’s not often you see a player score five goals in a game, yet one Preston-owned player managed it this weekend.
You may have forgotten that Graham Burke is still a Preston player, and would be forgiven for that. It’s more than a year since Burke last played for North End, having been loaned to Gillingham for the second half of last season, and now back to Shamrock Rovers.
Preston pounced to sign Burke from Rovers in 2018, having seen him thrive in the League of Ireland following his exit from Notts County in 2017.
A left-footed playmaker who had scored a bucket full of goal in Ireland, Burke made his return to England, but never really looked like he was at the level required for a Championship player.
Burke has returned to Shamrock Rovers, heading back to his former club to try and regain his form. So far, it’s a move that looks to be paying dividends in a big way.
The new League of Ireland season kicked off on Friday night, and Burke was in action against Cork City – a club North End have ever-strengthening ties with – and he stole the headlines.
Shamrock Rovers won the game 6-0, and Burke scored five goals in a frankly ridiculous display, earning praise from boss Stephen Bradley after the final whistle, as he praised Burke for being ‘very difficult to play against’ whilst speaking to The Irish Sun.
“I’m delighted for him because he’s worked hard in pre-season,” said Bradley. “We knew when we got him last year it was really with a view to this year because he was behind in terms of fitness levels. But he’s right where he should be with his fitness now and when he’s like that he’s very difficult to play against.”
“That’s Graham. If people remember before he left he was scoring goals every week and that’s what he does. I think in the first half he had six shots and no other player in the team had two. That’s his mentality. When he’s in the final third he just wants to score goals. He’s so calm, he’s so cool. He usually always makes the right decision. His mindset is being aggressive in the final third and once he’s in there he’s not missing,” he added.
Burke seemingly won’t have a future at Deepdale, but with another year left on his deal, maybe form like this can boost his value in the transfer market.