Preston North End striker Sean Maguire fit to play his part in a crucial run of matches
Sean Maguire has endured a painful last few months so it comes as a relief to the Preston North End striker that he is now able to play with a great deal more comfort.
Bar a nine-minute run as a substitute in February’s home defeat to Rotherham, Maguire was missing from the PNE teamsheet for the best part of two months.
An Achilles tendon issue saw to that, one which he hopes is now behind him and allows an uninterrupted run through to the end of the season.
Maguire, 26, returned to the squad for the draw with Bournemouth, coming on as a second-half substitute.
The Republic of Ireland international started Saturday’s grim defeat at Wycombe in which – in line with most of his team-mates – he was way below par.
Collectively, North End will need to be much better against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium this evening (7pm).
Explaining his absence from the squad until a week last Saturday, Maguire told the Lancashire Post: “It was my Achilles which was really sore, it had been like that since October.
“I thought I could play through it but unfortunately it began to take its toll around Christmas time.
“By then I couldn’t really train, it was painful sprinting and running.
“I had a chat with the physio and manager about it and I expected to be out for a couple of weeks or so but it went on much longer.
“Against Rotherham I was back in the squad and came on as a sub. Within five minutes I jumped for a header and felt it again straight away.
“It was an ongoing thing but thankfully with the help of Matt Jackson our physio it has cleared up.
“I’ve no pain in it now, it’s been pretty much back to normal for the last 10 days or so.
“The Achilles is obviously a key part of your leg, the weight of your body goes through it and when you get such an injury it’s a horrible one.
“Tom Clarke had an Achilles injury when he was here and he used to be in the gym for half an hour before training loading his Achilles tendons and getting them warm ready for when he went on the pitch.
“I’m doing stuff before training and between sessions to help myself and it will be part of my routine.”
There were no excuses from Maguire about PNE’s defeat to Wycombe, a result which they will look to hit back from at Boro.
Results have generally been poor in the calendar year, just 12 points taken from 14 games in 2021. Said Maguire: “It wasn’t good enough, I don’t think it was acceptable.
“Everyone in our dressing room has high standards of themselves and of each other. On the day we were nowhere near it.
“I felt the performance was just as bad as the one in the FA Cup even if the scoreline was different.
“You can accept in a game if something doesn’t go to plan like a misplaced pass or not taking your chances, that’s part of football.
“But you can’t accept not putting in 110% or not getting stuck in. I thought that was missing from our game on Saturday.
“Wycombe out-fought us and in the past that has not been the case in our games. I think it was a kick up the backside and we’ve only got ourselves to blame.
“We had a meeting among ourselves to talk about what had gone on at Wycombe and our form of late which hasn’t been good enough.
“It’s been the manner in which we have lost which hasn’t been good enough. I include myself in that, I made a good impact coming on against Bournemouth but after Wycombe I had a good look at myself and it wasn’t good enough from me.”
The Middlesbrough trip will see PNE come up against their former right-back Darnell Fisher who moved to Teesside in January. Maguire said: “Myself and Fish have been opponents in training a lot down the years but this would be the first time I’ve played against him.
“Fish was there from day one for me at Preston, he signed about the same time.
“He’s a great player, a great lad and won’t be easy to play against.”
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