PNE winger’s World Cup hopes hinge on two games

Preston winger Daryl Horgan in Republic of Ireland action
Preston winger Daryl Horgan in Republic of Ireland action

Preston North End winger Daryl Horgan will be looking to keep his World Cup dream alive over the coming days.

Horgan and Lilywhites team-mate Sean Maguire are in the Republic of Ireland squad for tonight’s clash with Moldova and Monday night’s meeting with Wales.

The Irish effectively need two wins to be in with a chance of a play-off slot, Wales a point ahead of them in second place.

Monday’s game in Cardiff could very well be a winner-takes-all affair, PNE having an interest in both camps with goalkeeper Chris Maxwell in the Welsh squad.

Horgan is not looking any further than the Moldova game for the time being.

The 25-year-old, signed by North End at the back end of 2016, said: “I’ve got a positive outlook and a very determined one too.

“We know that the Moldova game is the be-all and end-all at the minute.

“If we get over the line as we hope to do, then the Wales game and the carrot of the World Cup is there.

“Hopefully we can get that second place and a few things go our way to make sure we are not the ninth-placed second.”

Horgan made the latest squad despite slim pickings when it comes to first-team football at North End.

In the Championship, he has been limited to coming off the bench four times.

Two of those appearances have come recently, and he set-up Callum Robinson’s winner at Hull nine days ago.

Horgan then came on in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland.

His one start of the season came in the League Cup tie at Accrington in August.

Said Horgan: “Everyone wants to play every single game and I’m no different.

“The way it’s been with us doing well – we’ve started very well – has made it difficult to get opportunities.

“There is that element of keeping your head and being focused.

“You can’t throw the toys out of the pram, everyone is in the same boat and wanting to play.

“The manager has a tough job to make his decisions but I will keep working away so that when an opportunity comes along, I am ready.”

While Horgan has found opportunities hard to come by this season, he is enjoying working with Alex Neil.

“He’s a very good manager,” said Horgan.

“I have enjoyed working with him, he’s impressed me in the way we are playing and the style of football we have.

“He gets the best out of players and hopefully my chance will come.”

Meanwhile, Alex Neil has missed out on the Championship manager of the month award.

He was on a four-man shortlist after an unbeaten September but the Sky Bet award went to Bristol City head coach Lee Johnson.

North End have sold nearly 1,000 tickets for the visit to Fulham a week tomorrow. Fans are urged to buy in advance, with a price increase on the day.