Preston striker Sean Maguire got the ‘fright of his life’ when he lost the sight in his left eye after a freak accident in training.
Maguire, 25, admitted the injury was a ‘one in a million’ issue and now is thankfully fully recovered, bar having to put eye drops in for a couple more days.
The Irishman had no trouble seeing where the net was when he returned to action last week, with him scoring four minutes into the 2-0 victory over Brentford.
It was in the build-up to the Nottingham Forest game that Maguire hurt his eye and he had a few anxious days after that.
Maguire said: “It was a one-in-a-million thing. I went to take a shot during training and it hit a couple of players.
“I didn’t have chance to react and close my eyes, the ball bounced up and hit me in the left eye, straight in the eyeball.
“I got up off the ground and Daniel Johnson was around me.
“DJ was talking to me and I couldn’t see him, at that point I got the fright of my life.
“My right eye started to come back but when I put my hand over it, I couldn’t see out of the left one.
“I walked over to our physio Matt Jackson who took a look and knew that something was wrong.
“He said I needed to go straight to hospital and that is when I started to panic and worry.
“Jacko wouldn’t have said we needed to go to the hospital straight away if it wasn’t serious.
“He was right, the blood pressure was four times higher in the left eye than it was in the right.
“Being hit by the ball had burst a few of the blood vessels.
“I just about had time to take my boots off and I was off to A&E at hospital.
“For the next five or six days I was sat at home and couldn’t really see out of my left eye.
“I was over-thinking it probably but there was the possibility of me not being able to see out of that eye properly again.
“Fortunately it was a mild case and I was able to train in the middle of last week.
“I went to see a couple of specialists in Preston and then went to see one in Manchester.
“She checked me out and said I was fine to start training, that everything was back to normal.
“That was nice to hear I must say. Things are fine now, I’m still putting eye drops in but I stop those at the weekend.”
Being back in action last week and scoring so early in the game was the perfect tonic for Maguire.
He met a fine cross from Ryan Ledson, took the ball on his chest and fired past Bees keeper David Raya from six yards.
That was his second goal of the campaign, the first having come at the same end of Deepdale in last month’s 3-0 victory over Wigan Athletic.
Maguire now hopes to take his goals on the road, with PNE making the trip to St Andrew’s on Saturday to face Birmingham City.
“Scoring early last week was massive for me and for the team,” said the former Cork City man.
“Brentford are a good team so to get a foothold early on was ideal.
“They like to knock the ball around, take a few risks, it can be hard going against them.
“Tom Barkhuizen’s goal in the second half came at just the right time because Brentford were starting to get on top then.
“It was nice for Barky to score too because like me, he’d been out injured in the previous game.
“Us both scoring a goal was a massive boost to our confidence.
“Our tactics in the game worked to a tee.
“The gaffer asked me to tuck in from the left so that I could affect Brentford’s midfield. Also, they played three at the back so tucking in helped against that.
“They had half-chances but didn’t really cause us too many problems.”
North End are without a Championship win on the road this season, a statistic Maguire wants to change this weekend.
Millwall aside on the first day, Alex Neil’s men have played well in their away games – beaten 3-2 at Swansea and drawing 1-1 with Nottingham Forest.
Said Maguire: “We go to Birmingham now and that will be a tough game, they have started well.
“I didn’t play there last season because I was out injured but the year before we won 3-1 at their place.
“We played really well that day and deserved to win the game.
“Probably the reason I remember it so well is that Birmingham took the lead and that was my fault to some extent because their full-back twisted me inside out.
“We came back to score three times in the second half – DJ, Jordan Hugill and Barky scored. We could do with that result on Saturday.
“Birmingham won 1-0 at Charlton last week which was a great result for them, so we know what we are up against.
“Our away results have not been great so far even if we have done all right in the games.
“Hopefully we can a good result this time.”