Preston striker Connor Simpson has told TEAMtalk that he hopes to follow in Jordan Hugill’s footsteps at Deepdale.
In January 2018, North End swooped to land Simpson from Hartlepool for a £50,000 fee. Preston beat off a host of other clubs to secure his signature.
The 19-year-old had come up through the Pools ranks, scoring once in nine games before heading to Deepdale. Simpson has so far made just one first-team appearance for North End, as a late substitute at Aston Villa in January 2018.
This term, Simpson was sent on loan to Hyde United, where he scored eight goals in 15 games. With North End enduring an injury crisis, Simpson was recalled in December – but failed to appear.
Simpson was unsurprisingly loaned out again in January, this time earning a very promising move. League Two side Carlisle United took Simpson until the end of the season – a big step up from non-league.
Simpson has so far scored once in six games for the Cumbrians, mostly having to make do with substitute cameos. Still, it’s all valuable experience for the teenager ahead of his Preston return this summer.
The 6ft 6in striker is unlikely to have a key role next season, so another loan deal could be in the offing. Now though, the striker has laid out his ambitions at Preston.
Simpson has admitted that he wants to follow in the footsteps of ex-Preston striker Hugill, and there are definite parallels. Both players were born in the North East, emerged in non-league and featured for Hartlepool. Hugill then became a Preston regular – something Simpson wants too.
The beanpole forward has admitted that he needs to use his physicality more if he’s to be Hugill-esque, and revealed that he’s asked for extra training at Carlisle in order to improve properly.
“I look at Jordan Hugill as an example of what you can achieve by working hard and using the most of what you have. I hope that I can have a career similar to his and follow in his footsteps,” said Simpson. “I’m only 19-years-old and I have a lot to learn, I’m almost 6’6” and I am still growing and I know that I need to use my physicality more.”
“I’m lucky in that I’ve got Alex Neil at Preston who has told me what I need to improve on and now Steven Pressley at Carlisle. I’ve asked to do extra training here and the manager is working with me on a one to one which I really appreciate. I’m confident that if I get minutes that I will score goals for Carlisle,” he added.
Simpson has a long way to go before he can be like Hugill, who joined West Ham for £10m last year. He’s saying all the right things though.