PNE striker Sean Maguire nearing a return to action
The Irishman has been sidelined since November with a hamstring injury but is expected to be fighting fit again by the end of the month.
The versatile forward hit the ground running after his summer move from Cork City, scoring four goals in 14 appearances as he quickly established himself as a key figure for Alex Neil’s side.
When asked by a fan on Twitter about a possible return to action, Maguire had a positive response.
“Back light training this week and then should be back full training some time next week,” the 23-year-old said.
His injury was similar to the one picked up by Greg Cunningham back in August, with the muscle coming away from the tendon.
Maguire had to wear a knee brace for six weeks after surgery with his rehabilitation carefully managed.
At the time Neil described Maguire’s injury as “devastating” for PNE, the North End boss also referring to the former West Ham man as a “talisman” for the Lilywhites in the early weeks of the Championship campaign.
Maguire arrived at Deepdale on the back of scoring a hatful of goals for eventual League of Ireland double winners Cork and that form continued on his return to English football.
A string of impressive displays resulted in the striker picking up his first senior Republic of Ireland cap as a second-half substitute in the 2-0 win over Moldova in Dublin in October.
He largely operated as a wide forward on his arrival at North End, Jordan Hugill acting as the target man.
His £9.5m move to West Ham has seen Neil switch to a more fluid frontline, something that is likely to suit Maguire, with Callum Robinson given the task of leading the line against Nottingham Forest, Hull and Brentford.
January signings Billy Bodin and Louis Moult have also arrived while Maguire has been on the sidelines, meaning there is plenty of competition for places up top.
His return will certainly be a timely one for a Preston side pushing for the play-offs though, Neil’s men three points shy of the top six, with leaders Wolves in town on Saturday.