Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
# Hamstrung
'I felt 2018 wasn't the best year for me... hopefully now I've turned a corner'
Ireland striker Sean Maguire returned from injury for Preston North End in the FA Cup on Sunday.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND and Preston North End striker Sean Maguire intends to tailor his workload after returning from his latest injury setback.

Maguire played his first game in over seven weeks when he was introduced as a 74th-minute substitute in Preston’s surprise FA Cup third-round defeat to League One side Doncaster Rovers on Sunday afternoon.

Sean Maguire suffers an injury Ryan Byrne / INPHO Maguire was injured in November's goalless draw with Northern Ireland. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

The 24-year-old had been sidelined since he suffered a hamstring injury just 14 minutes after coming off the bench to win his fourth senior international cap in the goalless draw with Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in November.

Maguire’s comeback should provide a timely boost to an injury-hit Preston squad. Alex Neil’s side have dropped to 17th place in the Championship after taking just one point from a possible 12 in their last four league outings.

“It was a good feeling to be back out there amongst the boys. I felt 2018 wasn’t the best year for me — on and off the pitch. But it’s a fresh start and a new year,” Maguire told the club’s official website.

“It hasn’t been the best of starts to the new year as a team, with two losses, but knowing that you’re going to be training and having that matchday feeling back is obviously brilliant. I’ve just got to step up the fitness now, take each game as it comes, hopefully get back in the team and push the boys up the table.” 

Since his move from Cork City in July 2017, Maguire has made a good impression at Preston when fully fit. However, the Kilkenny native has seen his opportunities restricted by a series of hamstring injuries which condemned him to three lengthy absences in just over a year.

He now plans to moderate his approach to training in order to minimise the risk of any further setbacks. However, the 2017 PFAI Player of the Year insists that his recent injury problems won’t play on his mind as he bids to work his way back to full fitness. 

Preston North End v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship - Deepdale Richard Sellers Celebrating after scoring against Leeds United back in April. Richard Sellers

“If the boys are training four times a week, I’ll maybe train three times a week or I’ll get myself in the gym and do my strength work, whether it’s on my hamstrings or my quads,” he said.

“It’s about being honest with the physio, Tom Little, and the gaffer [Alex Neil] each and every day. If I feel tired one day, there’s no point keeping it to myself because it could cost me later down the line. I need to be smart.

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“I’m 24 years of age now. I’ve been in the professional game since I was 18. When I wake up in the mornings, I need to ask myself ‘is it a good day to train?’ It’s just about thinking logically about it and hopefully now I’ve turned a corner.”

He added: “People always ask me if the injuries are still going to be in the back of my head. I don’t think so at all. Even when I came on at the weekend, I was just thinking about scoring, getting an opportunity and making sure I was composed if I got the chance.

“It’s not a case of being confident within yourself. It’s just a matter of being sharp and getting back to myself.”

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