Preston striker Sean Maguire aiming for international action when Republic of Ireland take on Bulgaria

Preston North End striker Sean Maguire will be hoping for third time lucky as far as seeing action for the Republic of Ireland during the current international break.

Maguire has got no further than the bench for the Irish’s games against England and Wales in the last few days.

The 26-year-old has one last chance on Wednesday night in the Nations League group game with Bulgaria in Dublin.

Maguire was a late pick for the Republic’s squad, drafted in the day before the friendly with England at Wembley.

Preston North End striker Sean Maguire

He got the call after injuries and positive Covid-19 tests began to hit the squad.

That has been a recurring theme for the Irish, North End midfielder Alan Browne one of those to return a positive Covid test – he’s isolating and will miss PNE’s game against Sheffield Wednesday.

It was a similar picture for Maguire in the October break, his call-up coming later.

He got asked to join the squad after the European Championship qualifier play-off defeat to Slovakia.

Sean Maguire in action for the Republic of Ireland against Finland in October

Maguire came on as a sub in a 0-0 draw with Wales and started the 1-0 defeat to Finland.

When Republic manager Stephen Kenny initially announced his squad ahead of this month’s games, he referenced Maguire not being in due to him not having played much at PNE recently.

That has been the case, with appearances having dried up of late.

Until last month, Maguire had featured as a starter or got on as a substitute in every Championship game since late August 2019.

The 1-0 defeat to Cardiff on October 18 was his last start, with him coming off the bench against Queens Park Rangers and Huddersfield Town.

For the last four matches, Maguire has been an unused sub.

Emil Riis’ signing and speedy adaptation to life at Deepdale has seen him emerge as Alex Neil’s first-choice up front.

Jayden Stockley got the nod to start against Birmingham and found the net with a superb 30-yard shot.

Riis was back in ahead of him at Reading on November 4, scoring his first PNE goal in the 3-0 win.

So it looks like Maguire faces a challenge to get back in the side as things stand.

However, with 12 matches between Saturday’s resumption of Championship action and January 2, it is going to be very much a squad game at North End.

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