Sean Maguire back in familiar surroundings at Preston

Sean Maguire is back in familiar surroundings after swapping Cork City for Preston North End.

Thursday, 3rd August 2017, 1:30 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:31 pm
Sean Maguire celebrates his first PNE goal against Burnley.

The prolific front man lived in PR1 when on loan at Accrington from West Ham United in the 2014-2015 season.

Things didn’t work out for the 23-year-old with the Hammers and he ultimately returned back home to the League of Ireland.

The striker’s form for this season’s runaway leaders is the reason he’s back in England at Deepdale however, along with Cork team mate Kevin O’Connor.

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“Preston’s very similar to Cork,” said Maguire, who has 20 league goals in 2017.

“The people are very welcoming and are lovely around this city.

“I lived here when I was at Accrington so I’m familiar with the surroundings and things like that.

“Kevin will obviously take a while to get used to things but I’ve no doubt he’ll settle.

Sean Maguire scores against Burnley.

“I’m a different player to when I was at Accrington.

“I’ve matured a lot, physically and mentally.

“I feel a lot sharper and stronger.”

The Republic of Ireland Under 21 international’s move was announced at the start of June but Maguire only formally became a North End player on July 24.

Maguire is pushing to start on the opening day against Sheffield Wednesday.

It has been quite the swansong for the Cork pair, their side top of the league and having a Europa League run that included a win over Levadia Tallinn before defeat to AEK Larnaca in the second qualifying round.

“The two of us live together back in Cork and the last few weeks have been quite emotional because Cork have been so good to the both of us,” said Maguire.

“We had to keep focused on what we had to do with Cork and that was to win every game in the league.

“We’re unbeaten this season and Europe came about and it was great to get through the first round before losing out to Larnaca.

Sean Maguire scores against Burnley.

“It’s on to a bigger opportunity now in the English Championship and it’s one we can’t wait to get going with.

“Our aim now is to impress the manager, try and get in the team and then go from there.”

The duo’s arrival takes the number of Irish players at Deepdale to seven and was clearly a factor in the in-demand front man’s thinking.

O’Connor and Maguire join stand-in skipper Greg Cunningham, Daryl Horgan, Andy Boyle, Alan Browne and Eoin Doyle at Deepdale.

“The Irish contingent is massive here and speaking to the boys coming over here they’ve been very welcoming,” he said.

“Not only the Irish boys, the rest of the boys have been brilliant in letting us know what the club is all about.

Maguire is pushing to start on the opening day against Sheffield Wednesday.

“It’s a very tight group and the relationships off the pitch need to be just as a good as on the pitch and that’s massive in this dressing room.”