Striker Sean Maguire hailed as “magnificent” by Preston North End boss Alex Neil

Preston North End manager Alex Neil has pinpointed Sean Maguire’s performance as being a key one in the victory over AFC Bournemouth.

By Dave Seddon
Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 8:00 am

The striker played a part in all three goals and helped bring Scott Sinclair into more central areas.

It was the Irishman’s second successive start after eight games on the bench and his display delighted Neil.

“Sean was magnificent, I thought he was excellent,” said Neil.

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Sean Maguire played a key role at the Vitality Stadium

“He gave us the platform that I thought we needed in terms of looking after the ball.

“What he did was play on the half-turn a lot which was great, that allowed him to play the next pass forward.

“Sean is a great lad who gets his head down and works his socks off.”

Maguire played his part in the counter-attack for PNE’s opening goal, meeting a pass from Sinclair and playing Daniel Johnson away down the left to provide the cross for Tom Barkhuizen to score.

His flick-on was picked up by Sinclair for the stunning second goal, Sinclair finding the net from nearly 40 yards.

Then Maguire held the ball up and laid it off to Sinclair in the build-up to Patrick Bauer scoring the third.

Regarding the link-up between Sinclair and Maguire which was effective all game, Neil said: “What we did with Scott was rather than have him going down the line and working in those tight spaces, we used Sean to do that.

“We then used Scott’s legs and pace to get in behind and you saw that with a couple of the goals.

“Tom Barkhuizen was a threat down the other flank, we also flooded the middle so that we could control the ball.”

Just as PNE were starting to get some of their players back from injury and suspension, there was major blow with Patrick Bauer’s serious injury in stoppage time.

The centre-half damaged his Achilles tendon and could miss the rest of the season if he requires surgery.

In the last two games, Neil has got Ben Pearson and Ben Davies back from six-week injury lay-offs, with Alan Browne and Joe Rafferty back from suspension.

Said Neil: “It is difficult sat in my position when you have a lot of injuries and people are wondering why you aren’t winning games.

“I think I’m proven in the Championship, I’ve won a lot of games at this level for a long time. I’ve always said if we get our best players back on the pitch, we will win matches.

“The team we had available at Bournemouth gave us the best balance to play in a manner which my teams want to play with – aggressive and on the front foot.

“They have pace and quality so that when the ball comes out, we can recycle it and maintain possession.”