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Preston boss hails 'terrific' Maguire after Irish international ends goal drought

‘I’m sure Seani will be disappointed, but performance-wise he hasn’t let us down,’ said Alex Neil.

Preston North End's Sean Maguire.
Preston North End's Sean Maguire.
Image: Tim Goode/PA Wire/PA Images

ALEX NEIL WAS keen to highlight Sean Maguire’s overall contribution to Preston North End after the Republic of Ireland international ended a long goal drought last night.

In a 1-1 draw at Bristol City, the 26-year-old attacker scored for the first time in 25 appearances with a tidy finish, having been teed up by Daniel Johnson’s clever back-heel.

Neil praised Maguire for an “absolutely terrific” performance as his side earned a point in their final game of the season. The Deepdale outfit ended the campaign in ninth place, four points adrift of the play-offs. 

The Preston boss told the Lancashire Post: “What we need to remember with Sean is what he offers the team. I know and understand – and so does he – that you are going to be judged by goals, being a striker. That is a definite for any striker.

“What Seani brings to the team is so much, he gets into some good areas. There was one when he should have passed to Brad Potts but he took his goal really well, albeit he took quite a few touches before shooting.

“He probably just needs his confidence back in front of goal, not in his general play because that was terrific. But as a striker when you are in that box and – bang! – you put it in the net, automatically you have that belief that when the ball falls for you it is going to go in the net.

“This season goals-wise, I’m sure Seani will be disappointed, but performance-wise he hasn’t let us down.”

Maguire’s 16th-minute opener was his fifth Preston goal of the season and his first since scoring in a 2-1 win over Fulham back in December.

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Nevertheless, Neil has kept faith with the Kilkenny native, who has made 40 consecutive appearances for Preston – of which 32 have been starts.

Maguire, who has won eight senior caps for Ireland, scored his first international goal in last November’s 3-1 victory over New Zealand.

“I’m pretty sure most people would have been surprised to see me play Seani but against a back three his movement down the sides was key,” Neil added.

“The middle centre-back is always going to be terrified against his pace and what happens is he drops too deep and Seani drops in to take the ball and move us the pitch.”

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Paul Dollery

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