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Tommy Dickson/INPHO Maguire, pictured here playing against Dundalk in the President's Cup final, has two goals in two league matches this season.
# The next export?
'If he gets 25-30 goals this year he'll certainly go to a Championship club at least'
John Caulfield admits that a move back to England is inevitable for Sean Maguire if he can repeat the form of last season.

SEANIE MAGUIRE HAS begun 2017 by picking up where he left off last season.

The 22-year-old striker bagged 29 goals in all competitions in his debut year with Cork City — leading them to FAI Cup glory and runner-up spot in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

John Caulfield did extremely well to tie his prized asset down to a one-year contract in December, and the former West Ham forward has taken that fine form into the new campaign.

As well as finding the net in the President’s Cup final win over Dundalk, Maguire’s name has been on the scoresheet in league victories against Finn Harps and Galway United.

And while he’s delighted to have him at the club, the Rebels boss accepts that there is likely to be more offers from England if the goals continue to flow.

“He’s a phenomenal striker,” said Caulfield. “He’s been working on his pace, he has got five or ten yards quicker and his finishing is clinical.

“He has never missed a training session since he came to the club and the condition he came back in for pre-season was phenomenal. He’s always last off the training ground as he is practicing his finishing and there is a considerable difference between him at the start of last year and the guy we have now.

“Unfortunately, our league isn’t perceived to be good. League One clubs wanted to take a chance but I could see why higher clubs didn’t because he had been nowhere for the previous two years.

But there is no doubt that he’s a banker to get a fantastic move if he nets 25-30 goals this year.”

Last year’s PFAI Player of the Year Daryl Horgan has impressed across the water since joining Preston North End along with Lilywhites team-mate Andy Boyle, and Maguire could be the next League of Ireland export to head for the Championship, according to his manager.

“You’d love to have him here for the rest of his career but that’s not realistic,” Caulfield added. “If a guy goes to a level that’s better than ours and he gets a great contract you shake his hand and wish him well.

“That’s the way football is, but at the same time I’m sure Seanie is looking forward to playing in Europe and being part of the team here that hopefully can win trophies at the end of the season.

“If he performs throughout the season, there’s probably going to be a very attractive move for him. That’s a no-brainer in my eyes. If it happened in the middle of the season, we would have to see but people have already enquired about him last year so they are watching.

If he gets 25-30 goals this year he will certainly go to at least the Championship and good luck to him if that happens. Good luck to us as a club as well as we brought him to that level.”

Maguire was taken off on 61 minutes on Friday night after complaining of a tight hamstring, and he’s a doubt for this week’s trip to United Park to face high-flying Drogheda.

However, Caulfield believes his side possess enough firepower if he doesn’t make it.

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“He has a slight strain. At half-time, he was a little bit sore and he sent the word over that he should come off and we decided to do that. It was great to have the impact of (Karl) Sheppard, (Achille) Campeon and young (Connor) Ellis, who came on to get his first senior goal.

“It just shows that we have a few options up top and with Seanie going out the lads came in and did very well. We roll on to Drogheda next week.”

- Reporting from Denis Hurley

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