Mixed news for Irish contingent
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill did not catch Preston at their best when he ran a recent check on them but still saw enough to name three Lilywhites players in his latest squad.
O’Neill was at Craven Cottage to see PNE beaten 3-1 by Fulham.
It was their only defeat in the last eight games and at the time put a dent in their play-offs hopes.
Aiden McGeady, Daryl Horgan, Greg Cunningham and Alan Browne of North End’s Ireland contingent all featured, with Andy Boyle on the bench.
McGeady, Horgan and Boyle have all made O’Neill’s provisional 39-man squad for their forthcoming games against Wales and Iceland.
When announcing the squad this week, O’Neill told the Irish media: “I saw Preston play against Fulham recently where they were pretty wretched, the team was.
“Andy was sub and Daryl played in the game but was taken off in the match.
“Fulham were too strong for them on that particular day but some of Preston’s results have been terrific – the manager has done a great job there.
“There are a number of (Irish) players playing.
“Young Browne played that day as well. It was a poor day for Preston but Aiden played a great through ball for one of the goals.
“Overall, Horgan and Boyle are just settling in.
“ Andy has been getting into the side for the past couple of games.
“It has been great for them, obviously coming on the back of the exploits for Dundalk and getting into our squad, which brought them to the attention of Preston and I am really pleased for them.”
With Cunningham having started the Fulham game out of position at right-back, it might not have been the ideal occasion for the 26-year-old to showcase his talents in front of the watching O’Neill.
His omission from the squad has raised eyebrows on both sides of the Irish Sea, bearing in mind Robbie Brady – who is left-back cover for the ROI – misses the Wales game through suspension.
Elsewhere both Horgan and Boyle have been nominated for the League of Ireland player of the year gong at Sunday’s prestigious FAI awards.