Ireland have been given a positive injury update with the news that Preston striker Sean Maguire looks set to return to action at the end of the month.
The former Cork City striker has been ruled out of action since November, picking up a hamstring injury that saw him miss out on Ireland’s 5-1 World Cup play-off defeat to Denmark.
The injury came at a frustrating time for the Kilkenny man, who had earned his first international cap against Moldova in October, as well as having fired in four goals in twelve starts for Preston in the Championship.
Maguire’s recovery from injury has come ahead of schedule – with the 23-year-old set to return within the next three weeks and aiming to earn his second international cap when Martin O’Neill’s side face Turkey in a friendly in March.
Speaking with Paul Dollery of The42.ie, he said:
“The recovery is actually going brilliantly, next week I’ll start with a bit of light training and the week after I’ll hopefully be fully training. All going well, I’ll be in contention for selection in about three weeks.
“I’m feeling really strong now. It’s just about getting the fitness back up. It’s gone better than I expected. I’m a couple of weeks ahead of schedule already, which I’m obviously delighted with.”
Maguire departed for England in blistering form having fired in 20 goals for Cork City as the Leesiders achieved a league and cup double for the first time in their history.
With Daryl Murphy and Wes Hoolahan having recently announced their international retirements and Shane Long struggling for form in front of goal, the news will come at the perfect time for Ireland.
Preston have just sold striker Jordan Hugill to West Ham, which will allow Maguire to avail of more opportunities up front rather than the wide role he has become accustomed to at Deepdale.
Should Maguire keep hitting the net, he will be the focal point of O’Neill’s plans as Ireland look to launch their assault on Euro 2020 in the coming months.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena