Sean Maguire hopes Preston North End can pick up from where they left off after international break

Sean Maguire scored a dramatic late winner for Preston in their last-gasp victory over Birmingham on Saturday
Sean Maguire scored a dramatic late winner for Preston in their last-gasp victory over Birmingham on Saturday

Preston striker Sean Maguire hopes the ‘big week’ of wins prior to the international break can extend to the spell of games after it.

Maguire signed off for the break by heading North End’s 94th-minute winner against Birmingham on Saturday.

It was a third victory in a week after victories at Blackburn and Middlesbrough.

When the Championship resumes a week on Saturday, PNE travel to Reading.

Then they face Sheffield United, Leeds and West Brom in the space of a week – that a huge trio of games against teams in the promotion chase.

Maguire said: “It was a big week for us winning the three games in a row.

“They were three tough games going into the break and we probably weren’t at our best in any of them.

“However as the gaffer said to us afterwards, this is the stage of the season when it is all about results.

“After the break we go into another tough run.

“Reading are battling for their lives, then it is three of the top four teams.

“I like to think that we play some of our best football against the top teams.

“We beat Norwich here a few weeks ago, putting in such a good performance.

“As a team we don’t fear anyone in this division.

“We want to finish in the top six, there are places up there for grabs.”

Maguire’s winner against Birmingham was his third goal of the season – one which didn’t really get going until January because of injury.

He has started the last 11 games, coming on a sub in the Swansea game on January 12 which was the start of PNE’s unbeaten run.

What pleases Maguire in particular is the fact he has completed the full 90 minutes in six of the games.

Maguire, 24, said: “It was important to me to finish the Birmingham game.

“To score was brilliant and I think more goals will come with more game time.

“That was my 11th start and while I have only scored three goals, my momentum on the pitch is picking up.

“I felt a bit leggy towards the end on Saturday but got through with no issues.

“A couple of times I had the impact of their centre-backs going through me which left my ankles in pieces but I was happy to get through.”

Maguire joined-up with the Republic of Ireland over the weekend – the Irish face Gibraltar and Georgia in Euro 2020 qualifiers.

On Monday, Maguire sat out training – in line with what he does at PNE since coming back from injury.

Irish boss Mick McCarthy said: “Sean doesn’t train on Mondays with Preston. I’m happy to follow their fitness path with him as long as he’s okay for Saturday.”