Exclusive Sean Maguire Preston North End column: Fluid forward line suits my game

Celebrating scoring against Brentford after returning from suffering a freak eye injury
Celebrating scoring against Brentford after returning from suffering a freak eye injury

The way the manager Alex Neil has set us up in attack this season really suits us.

I think we have made a lot of people sit up and take notice.

At times this season, we have not played with what you would call an out-and-out centre-forward.

There’s myself, Tom Barkhuizen, Josh Harrop, Billy Bodin – who are all comfortable playing anywhere along the frontline – whether that is left, right or central.

It’s difficult to describe how we play, but it’s free-flowing and we interchange positions.

Everybody knows their job – I have been playing primarily off the left, but I know if I move to a more central position then Tom, Billy or Josh will move to the left and vice versa. We keep talking to each other in games.

We have the scope to drop into pockets and interchange and it’s been really enjoyable.

Up to now, it’s been working well. Of course, we do have the option of playing with a targetman with Jayden Stockley and David Nugent in the squad.

Daniel Johnson has been playing in behind and he has begun the new season in great form.

I don’t mind where I play. Obviously I made my name playing up front for Cork back in Ireland and in my first season here at Preston.

But I think playing off the left suits my game because it allows me to drift inside or stay out wide and get one on one against the full-back.

It’s the manager’s decision and at the moment the way we have set up allows myself and the other attackers in the squad to get into areas where we can hurt the opposition.

I definitely feel there is more to come from me this season – I think I have made a decent start.

Injuries have played a part obviously. Getting bashed in the head against Swansea City gave me concussion and I ended up missing the night match against Stoke City.

Then I got the one where the ball struck me in the left eye in training and blinded me temporarily.

I got the fright of my life because I could not see out of it properly for a week but thankfully I made a full recovery and I was back training within 10 days.

I’ve scored three goals so far, which I don’t think is too bad playing off the left. I would have liked to have more.

In terms of goals, I tend not to set myself targets for the season, but I think if I can get to 15 that would be a good return but hopefully I can get more.

This week has been slightly frustrating in terms of only picking up two draws but I think we can look back on it as two good points.

Drawing 3-3 against Bristol City at Deepdale meant we lost our 100% home record but they were by far the best team I have come up against this season.

Obviously to go 2-0 down and then come back to get a point, you have to be pleased with that.

I think the fact that we have been so good at home this season helped us when we fell behind against the Robins. We didn’t panic and in the end we deserved the draw.

Against Middlesbrough I was very disappointed and frustrated to only draw 1-1 on Tuesday.

I suppose it shows how far we have come this season that we are disappointed to only get a point from our trip to Boro with the quality players at their disposal.

I felt we didn’t really get into the rhythm of the game and didn’t play as well as we can do. But I think at the end of the season, we might look back at these draws as two vital points.

Certainly last season, we would have lost the Bristol City game so it shows morale within the squad that we were able to come back and earn a point.

A lot of people will probably look at our game 
this weekend against Barnsley at Deepdale as a home banker.

We are in sixth spot in the table and they are in the bottom three after getting promoted from League One.

I think they have only won one game all season, but they got a good result on Wednesday night.

Scoring in the last minute to get a draw against Derby County will be a big boost to them.

They will certainly be no pushovers. We have got to make sure we are not complacent because if you go into any Championship game thinking it’s going to be stroll in the park, you will end up losing.

The Championship is very tight and I think there is not one team which is head 
and shoulders above everyone else.