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Dublin: 9°C Monday 10 May 2021

Preston ask Ireland to monitor fitness of key midfielder

Alan Browne has helped Alex Neil’s side climb to second in the Championship.

Alan Browne featured in Ireland's last qualifier with Switzerland.
Alan Browne featured in Ireland's last qualifier with Switzerland.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

PRESTON BOSS ALEX Neil will ask Ireland manager Mick McCarthy to monitor the fitness of Alan Browne, with the midfielder likely to play some part in upcoming clashes against New Zealand and Denmark,.

The 24-year-old has been a regular this season in a Preston side that are currently second in the Championship and the player scored his first club goal of the season in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Huddersfield.

The Cork native could figure against Denmark, having started in Ireland’s most recent qualifier — a 2-0 defeat away to Switzerland.

Yet Neil is hopeful that Browne — the club’s Player of the Season for the 2017-18 campaign — will be well looked after on international duty, having been suffering from hamstring issues of late.

“Alan is fine, it’s just that his hamstring has been a bit tight,” Neil told reporters, as quoted by the Lancashire Evening Press.

I will probably give big Mick a call and hope that Ireland take care of him while he is away. I’m sure they will.”

Having reached double figures in the previous two seasons, Browne has not been finding the net with regularity in this campaign, but Neil says it is partially due to the player sometimes featuring in a less advanced role.

“Alan does what he does, he hits the box well in that ‘running 10′ position.

“This season we haven’t played him up there many times because of Daniel Johnson’s performances and how well he has done.

“If DJ is the No.10, generally we play with a running nine rather than a big target man.

“When Alan plays it suits us to play a target man, with him and Jayden Stockley complementing each other really well.”

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Browne himself expressed relief at finally breaking his goal duck.

It’s about time, I went long enough without one. I set myself pretty high standards off the back of last season.

“It hasn’t been as good as I would have hoped personally, but collectively to be in the position we are is fantastic. The win keeps momentum going into the international break.

“Hopefully we can continue the same form afterwards.”

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Paul Fennessy

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