Preston North End’s Sean Maguire’s a busy man
Lancashire Post reporter DAVE SEDDON talks to Preston North End striker Sean Maguire about the Lilywhites’ start to the season scoring in last week’s win against Brentford and a late Ireland call-up.
Sean Maguire thinks the signs are pointing in the right direction for Preston North End as they take a breather during the international break.
Not that the striker himself is getting the chance to put his feet up after a late call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad.
With the Championship on pause for North End until Sunday, though, it is a time for reflection on the first few weeks of the season.
The positives are two strong performances on the road – the 4-2 win against Brentford and a 2-2 draw with Norwich.
On the flip side of the coin, both of PNE’s league games at Deepdale have ended in 1-0 defeats to Stoke and Swansea.
“Six goals away against two teams who will fancy themselves for promotion is decent going,” said Maguire.
“That shows how strong we can be away from home but there is still work to do.
“We’ve got to take that away form into the home games and start getting better results at Deepdale.
“I think against Stoke we were unfortunate in that we had Tom Barkhuizen sent off early in the game. We played well before Barky got the red card and to be fair we had our moments after that.
“It was always going to be hard with 10 men, though. We responded so well in the game after that by beating Brentford.
“What a good afternoon that was, we played really well.
“Somehow we found ourselves 2-0 down but I didn’t think at half-time that was a reflection on how we had played in the first half.
“In the second half we went at them, pulled a goal back and you could see our confidence grow.
“To score four goals in quick succession was really pleasing.”
It was Maguire who got North End’s fourth goal against the Bees.
When Ben Davies got on the end of Ryan Ledson’s corner to head the ball down into the goalmouth, Maguire was there to swivel seven yards out and fire home on the half turn.
In terms of the league, it got him off the mark for the season but he had netted in the Carabao Cup against Mansfield in August.
Perhaps it was not much of a surprise to see him on the scoresheet against Brentford. This was his third goal in PNE colours against the London outfit.
In his first season here, Maguire netted a fine solo effort against Brentford in a 3-2 defeat at Deepdale.
Then early last season, he found the net in a 2-0 home victory.
“I haven’t done too badly against them,” said the 26-year-old front man.
“For last week’s goal I was just sniffing around the box and the ball fell for me.
“In the first half I’d had a couple of half-chances and didn’t work the goalkeeper hard enough with the shots.
“So when the chance fell my way to make it 4-2 I made sure I took it.”
The fact 5ft 9in Maguire was battling against two big centre-halves in Pontus Jansson and Ethan Pinnock, saw much comment from fans on social media during the game.
Both defenders stand 6ft 4in but Maguire admitted he loved the battle.
“I know I’m not the tallest player when compared to some others but I quite fancy myself in the air,” said Maguire.
“At Brentford I enjoyed getting in and around their two big lads, I know how Pontus Jansson likes to play. The way we approached things worked in the end – we scored four goals.”
Maguire thought he was in for a mix of training and rest during the international break, having not been selected for the Republic of Ireland squad.
But following the Boys in Green’s exit to Slovakia on penalties in the Euros qualifier play-off semi-final, he got the call to join up for the Nations League games with Wales and Finland.
Two of the strikers in the initial squad were forced to pull out just before the Slovakia game after one of the Irish backroom staff tested positive for Covid-19.
They were judged to have been close contacts of the staff member due to the fact they had been sat near him on the flight over.
So for Maguire, it was a case of getting his boots, packing a bag and getting himself over to Dublin.
When he returns from international duty later in the week, the focus will be on a busy run of games for North End.
They have seven league games before the November international break.
After that, there are 12 games in late November, through December and into January before the third round of the FA Cup.
Said Maguire: “It is a busy fixture list with the season starting later, there are games to fit into a smaller timescale.
“As a squad we have to be ready for that, the gaffer will have to use the full depth.
“I think we play every midweek so a lot of the time the focus will just be on recovery between them.
“In the Championship you play a lot of midweek games but there are more this season.
“As a squad we are feeling good, the pre-season was lot shorter than normal but we seem to have got our fitness as the games have gone on.
“The League Cup games allowed the gaffer to use the full squad so a ll the lads have had some game time which is good.”