Sean Maguire was pleased to open his pre-season friendly account with a hat-trick in Preston’s win over Bamber Bridge and hopes it is a sign of things to come.
The Irish striker squeezed his treble into a 20-minute spell in the 7-0 victory at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
He was in the first-half XI which found the net five times, Graham Burke and Billy Bodin also on target.
In the second half, Louis Moult and Josh Harrop got on the scoresheet.
Maguire looked sharp as he led the attack, new boy Burke linking up with him well in the No.10 role.
“Pre-season games are all about getting minutes in the tank and getting sharpness,” Maguire told the Post.
“After nine or 10 days of hard work in training, this was my first 45 minutes. To top that off with three goals was brilliant for myself.
“The display was perfect from the boys, the attitude spot on and long may that continue.
“To get the win was great, even though this was only a pre-season friendly.
“It will give us confidence as a group and it is something to carry into training this week.”
Burke and Bodin had both found the net before Maguire struck his three goals.
The 24-year-old, who hit 10 Championship goals last term despite a four-month lay-off with injury, was quick to praise his team-mates who provided the assists.
Said Maguire: “For the first, Daniel Johnson sent one over the top and their central defender kind of misjudged it.
“I thought 40 yards out, I would take a heavy touch and get one-on-one with their goalkeeper.
“I had every belief that I would run through and score.
“The second and third goals were quite similar – for the second I made the dart to the near post to get a simple finish from Daryl Horgan’s cross.
“Then for the third, Josh Earl pulled it back for me and I found the bottom corner.
“It is a bonus to get three goals in a pre-season game and I’ll look to keep working hard and getting sharper.”
North End used 22 players on Saturday, one name which was missing from the team sheet being Ryan Ledson.
The midfielder watched the game from the stand, with Lilywhites manager Alex Neil revealing a slight ankle injury had ruled him out.
Neil said: “Ryan has just rolled his ankle, so I would expect him back training on Tuesday.
“We played an 11 v 11 the other day, he rolled it and someone caught him on the ankle too.
“It inflamed a little bit so we had to settle it down. It was an impact one which you can’t do much about.”