Make mine a double Irish

Alan Browne
Alan Browne
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Preston will be hoping that Irish eyes are smiling on them at the MBNA North West Football Awards.

The Lilywhites’ Republic of Ireland duo Greg Cunningham and Alan Browne have been shortlisted for honours.

Greg Cunningham (left) with Daniel Johnson

Greg Cunningham (left) with Daniel Johnson

Cunningham is nominated in the Championship player of the year category.

His North End team-mate Browne has been nominated for the Rising Star gong.

Voting is open until noon on Friday, October 21, with the winners announced at the awards ceremony which takes place on November 14 at Lancashire Cricket Club’s Point venue.

Preston have fared well at the awards in previous years.

John Welsh (2013), Joe Garner (2014) and Paul Huntington (2015) won the League One player of the year award.

Garner also won the goal of the year award in 2014.

Simon Grayson was named manager of the year in 2015 after guiding North End to promotion via the play-offs at Wembley.

Cunningham is up against Blackburn winger Ben Marshall for the Championship player of the year award.

The defender was voted PNE’s player of the year and players’ player in May after a fine first season in a Preston shirt.

Cunningham, 25, started 43 of Preston’s league games last term, scoring two goals, and has featured in all seven matches so far this term. Browne is one of 22 players nominated for the Rising Star award, covering all divisions from Premier League to National League.

His competition includes Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, Emre Can at Liverpool, Manchester City front man Kelechi Iheanacho and Burnley defender Michael Keane.

Morecambe winger Tom Barkhuizen and Fleetwood’s Ash Hunter are among the nominees.

Supporters can cast their votes at www.northwestfootballawards.com/voting.

Browne, 21, has made 87 appearances for North End since being signed from Cork City’s Under-19s in 2014.

He has been away with the Republic of Ireland Under-21s during the international break.

On Friday night, the midfielder featured in their 2-0 win over Slovenia in Waterford.

Suspension ruled him out of contention for the clash with Serbia on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the awards shortlisting, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne go head to head for the Premier League player of the year trophy.