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'He showed why he is such an important player for us' - Preston boss hails Sean Maguire after eight weeks out

Preston secured an impressive 4-0 victory on Saturday with Ireland duo Sean Maguire and Callum Robinson instrumental.

Preston North End and Ireland striker Sean Maguire.
Preston North End and Ireland striker Sean Maguire.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

PRESTON NORTH END manager Alex Neil has praised Sean Maguire after the Ireland striker returned from injury for the Lilywhites after eight weeks out.

The striker picked up a serious hamstring strain during pre-season and was left sidelined for the opening two months of the Championship season.

The 24-year-old made his long-awaited return during yesterday’s 4-0 defeat of Wigan Athletic, setting up fellow Ireland international Callum Robinson for his second goal during the comprehensive win at Deep Dale.

Maguire came on with 15 minutes remaining on Saturday, making his debut appearance this campaign after impressing last season with 10 league goals in 19 appearances.

Sean Maguire Maguire in action for Ireland during a friendly against Turkey back in March. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“It was perfect for Seani today as he needs minutes under his belt”, said Preston manager Neil.

“We’ve missed him and you can see that for the fourth goal — the way he shifts his feet and goes past people. That’s real quality and he can run all day long. It’s key for us that he gets himself back as soon as possible.

“The most important thing today is the win but I think the manner of it was really pleasing for the fans and the players and I think it will give them a huge boost now,” he added.

“For points, performance and momentum and for everybody it was crucial we won the match and in the manner that we did made it even better.”

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Maguire was named in Martin O’Neill’s provisional squad for Ireland’s upcoming Uefa Nations League games at home to Denmark (13 October) and Wales (16 October) in Dublin, with Neil adding that the Ireland manager and his backroom team will continue to monitor the player’s return to action.

He will go and be with the Republic of Ireland, Martin O’Neill and the staff have been top class with us,” said Neil. “They have said they will monitor him and make sure he doesn’t do too much. I’m confident they will look after him and if anything it could help him.”

Maguire joined Preston from Cork City in June 2017 and was a key figure as the club narrowly missed out on a play-off spot in the Championship, finishing in seventh spot last season.

Source: pnefcofficial/YouTube

The forward has been a regular starter for the Lilywhites since last summer and has made two appearances for his country under O’Neill, with this week’s return coming just in time for this month’s crucial home fixtures at Lansdowne Road.

Team-mate Robinson scored a double during Saturday’s 2-0 win. The pair combined for Robinson’s second of the day, Maguire crossing low towards the front post before a deft finish.

Both Robinson and Maguire were named in O’Neill’s 32-man provisional squad for this month’s Nations League games alongside Preston team-mate Graham Burke, Aiden O’Brien, Scott Hogan, Shane Long and Ronan Curtis.

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Aaron Gallagher

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