PNE duo breaking the Ice
Preston pair Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle are in line to make their Republic of Ireland debuts tonight.
The ROI face Iceland in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium and Martin O’Neill says it will be an opportunity for him to look at players who have yet to feature at senior level.
Horgan and Boyle fall into that category and should see action at some stage.
For their goalless draw with Wales on Friday night, Horgan was an unused sub and Boyle did not make the matchday squad.
Aiden McGeady flew the flag for PNE in the Wales match, joining the action 11 minutes from time as a sub.
That was his 87th cap and he should add to that number against Iceland, probably from the start.
At a press conference in Dublin yesterday afternoon to preview the Iceland game, O’Neill said: “There will probably be a few players who will get their first taste of international football.
“The lads will have the opportunity to go and press a claim for future appearances.”
O’Neill has allowed four players who were on duty against Wales to return to their clubs.
If Horgan and Boyle do see action, it would continue a great few months for the pair.
Having helped Dundalk to the League of Ireland title and played in Europe for them, they joined PNE in January.
Horgan has been a regular in the North End side since his arrival, centre-half Boyle more recently forcing his way into contention.
The Republic of Ireland trio will be back in Lancashire on Thursday morning to join in North End’s preparations for Saturday’s clash with Nottingham Forest at Deepdale.
PNE start the final block of eight fixtures in ninth place, with a five-point gap to claw back on Sheffield Wednesday in sixth spot.
Preston will be regarded as the outsiders in the play-off race but that suits Deepdale manager Simon Grayson.
As he prepares for the final run-in, Grayson believes it is a different kind of pressure on his side than on some of the other clubs involved at the top end of the division.
Said Grayson: “The players are under pressure every time they train and every time they go out on the pitch because of the demands I set them.
“Also for myself, I want to win as many games as possible – it’s a different kind of pressure.
“It’s a care-free attitude whereas the pressure the other teams are under is a lot more intense
“Results will fluctuate between now and the end of the season that’s for sure.
“We are a free shot but others have to stay there or get there because of the budgets and the people above them making demands.”