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Maguire: 'In the long term I would like to go over and play at that level'

The Cork forward’s ambition is to return to England but for now his focus is on helping the Leesiders’ title tilt.

A MOVE BACK to England is becoming increasingly likely for the League of Ireland’s most coveted player, and Sean Maguire has said he would welcome the opportunity to have another crack at a career across the water.

Rory Feely with Sean Maguire Maguire in action against St Pat's on Friday night. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The Cork City forward has started the season in sensational form and has inevitably attracted interest from England with Preston North End manager Simon Grayson in the crowd at Richmond Park on Friday night.

While Maguire, who spent two seasons at West Ham United before returning to Ireland with Dundalk and now Cork, has said he remains fully focused on the Leesiders’ title tilt, his long-term ambition is to go back to England.

The 22-year-old didn’t add to his tally of eight league goals for the season in Cork’s 3-0 win at Inchicore but did make another big impression, providing two assists as John Caulfield’s men maintained their 100% start to the campaign.

Maguire has been central to that and Cork may have to face the reality of losing their most prized asset when the summer transfer window opens.

“No, [I] wasn’t aware at all,” he said, when asked if he was aware Grayson and Preston’s club advisor Peter Ridsdale were in the stands.

“You have to just treat every game the same. I thought it was tough for myself tonight, Gavin Peers is a very tough, physical guy and he made it hard for me. The most important thing is to get the three points.”

Preston’s interest in the Ireland U21 international is hardly surprising, particularly when you consider the way former Dundalk pair Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan have settled into life at Deepdale.

Maguire admits seeing how well they’ve done at the Championship club is appealing.

“Yeah, big time,” he continued. “I think they’ve set the platform for players in the League of Ireland of my age to go. Andy and Daryl have gone over there and they haven’t looked out of place.

“Andy has played a lot of games, Daryl is coming off the bench, I know he has started here and there. They are doing brilliantly over there and I’m delighted for them.

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Peter Ridsdale with Simon Grayson Simon Grayson and Peter Ridsdale in the crowd at Richmond Park. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“Not only are they great players but they’re great guys off the pitch as well and I’m delighted for them.

“I think obviously in the long term I would like to go over and play at that level but I’m enjoying my football and we’re doing well at the moment and we’re going in the right direction to win the league title.”

For now, however, Maguire is focused on maintaining his form for Cork as Caulfield’s charges prepare for their next assignment against high-flying Bray Wanderers.

The Seagulls have been this season’s surprise package and currently sit third behind Cork and Dundalk as we approach the end of the first block of fixtures.

“They’ve so many great players,” Maguire said of next Friday’s opponents.

“Gary McCabe is flying, Dylan Connolly and they’ve another three or four players that are playing very well so I’m not even surprised they are up there.

“From the start of the season I knew they were going to be in contention for the league. They’ve shown it, they’ve gone away to Derry and Dundalk and beaten them so we’ll be wary of them coming down to Turner’s Cross.

“We’re treating every game the same this season, it’s another cup final.”

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Ryan Bailey

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