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First Team News

Gaffer Hails Maguire Impact

25 July 2017

Alex Neil praised new boy Sean Maguire after he made himself known to the PNE fans with a terrific solo goal on his first outing in a PNE shirt.

Coming off the back of already a terrific season in the League of Ireland, Maguire, alongside fellow Irishman Kevin O'Connor made their Deepdale bow tonight as half-time subsititutes.

It took Maguire just 20 minutes to get on the scoresheet with a terrific solo run, surging into the box before calmly slotting past Burnley's Tom Heaton to reduce the deficit to 2-1 after Jonathan Walters and Kevin Long had previously netted for the Clarets.

"I thought we got better second half and the introduction to Sean Maguire at half-time with his pace stretched the game for us," said Neil to iFollow after North End played out their penultimate pre-season friendly against Burnley at Deepdale.

"It was a great individual goal, I thought his pace in behind was excellent and I thought he showed why he's had such a good season so far this year. The lads been here one day and played really well based on that.

"They started playing deeper which opened up spaces meaning we could move the ball and create some decent chances.

"All in all, we're a little bit frustrated with the first half as I think we're better than that but I think second half was a lot better.

"I thought we played against a really good organised team that work extremely hard and have got some real physical presence in their side.

"You can see the difference with the two teams especially from set plays, and we got undone with two setplays.

"There's a difference between the sides in that they've probably got about eight or nine players over six foot and we've probably got three or four so that's maybe something we need to look at."

Attention now turns to North End's final pre-season friendly against Fleetwood Town at Highbury on Friday, and Neil believes that game will prove vital in preparation to the start of the season in less than two weeks time.

Neil added: "Fleetwood is going to be a crucial game for us to help us be prepared for the following week - but I think you can see that the lads are in great shape, the fitness levels are good, it's just a case of match sharpness now."

For more reaction from Neil as he also speaks of the return of John Welsh to the side, watch the interview in full above this article. 

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