Alex Neil explains why Sean Maguire started ahead of Lukas Nmecha in Preston North End’s draw at Ipswich

Sean Maguire in action during Preston's draw at Ipswich
Sean Maguire in action during Preston's draw at Ipswich

Alex Neil has explained why Sean Maguire was given the nod to start Preston’s 1-1 draw with Ipswich on Saturday.

The Republic of Ireland international came in for Manchester City loanee Lukas Nmecha at Portman Road to lead the attack.

Preston North End's Lukas Nmecha

Preston North End's Lukas Nmecha

The 24-year-old had started at Hull last month, more out of necessity than design.

On that occasion, Neil used him in a wide position due to Tom Barkhuizen and Brandon Barker being absent.

Before that, Maguire had a run-out as a substitute in the 4-0 win over Wigan.

He came on in the recent home games with Brentford and Rotherham.

The fact Maguire got through 90 minutes against Ipswich is encouraging in his quest for full match fitness after his lay-off.

“Lukas is 19 and still learning,” said Neil.

“He had started five games on the bounce, and away from home is a different type of game to being at home.

“At home, the onus is on you to try and create.

“Away from home, and in particular going to Ipswich where I expected their fans to be right behind the team as they were, I thought that we needed a bit more experience to fight and scrap.

“Sometimes you have to do some of the unsavoury jobs as a forward.”

Having started on the bench Nmecha joined the action against Ipswich in the 71st minute as part of a double substitution with man-of-the-moment Paul Gallagher.

The City loanee had arguably the game’s best chance being put through by Maguire’s pass in the 88th minute.

However the teenager dwelt too long on the ball and a sliding tackle from Matthew Pennington took the ball off his foot as his search for a first North End goal goes on.

PNE boss Neil said: “It was our best chance of the game right at the end.

“Lukas just dwelt on it a bit too long and allowed their lad to tackle.

“He is so eager to get his first goal that he was being too precise.

“When a player does that, sometimes the opportunity escapes you.

“It’s all about learning and taking it on board ready for when it happens again.”