Sean Maguire was pleased to mark his first outing of pre-season by netting a hattrick in the 4-0 win away at AFC Fylde.
The Irishman grabbed two goals in five minutes just after the ten-minute mark, with team-mate Billy Bodin also registering himself on the scoresheet before the break, with Maguire timing his third to perfection on the hour mark – his final act before Alex Neil made ten substitutions.
The 25-year-old acknowledged that his goals had come at a stage where preparing for the Championship campaign next month was still the priority, but said he would still take a major boost from making such a significant impact in his first friendly appearance of the season.
“Obviously it’s my first game and I’ve been in about ten days now, so I got back in full training with the boys during the week in Ireland,” the forward told iFollow PNE post-match.
“I’ve been working quite hard with the strength and conditioning coach Tom Little, so it was good to get back on the pitch today and it couldn’t have got off to a better start.”
“I know it’s only pre-season but gaining that bit of confidence is vital to the way I play and you start as you mean to go on, so it’s a great start.
“That’s five goals in 90 minutes [in the last two summer friendlies against Fylde] now! We’ve a couple more games to the start of the season, the season’s only about three weeks away, so we started off the pre-season with three games and three wins and a lot of goals as well.”
And the Republic of Ireland international admitted his goalscoring exploits made it an enjoyable afternoon at the office for him.
“I actually really enjoyed playing out there today,” he added. “The gaffer spoke about trying to stretch them and getting in behind them, which I think I did.
“I think that’s a main attribute to my game – stretching defences and making them drop off and creating room for the likes of Browney and Billy coming into the pockets and Gino stretching them out wide as well.
“It was good to get the 4-0 win and we take it into Tuesday [against Chorley] and we’ve a couple more games to go in pre-season.”
Maguire also paid tribute to the travelling supporters who made themselves heard, particularly behind the goal in front of which PNE scored three first half goals.
“It was exactly the same as last year, that end [first half behind the goal] was packed out, a couple of bodies over there and then packed on the other side as well, which for a pre-season game was over 2,000 and I’d say the majority were PNE fans.
“I didn’t play on Monday night against Cork but you see them travel in their numbers – there must have been 50 to 100 fans there – and the same again for Bamber Bridge. They have played a vital part in the success we’ve had and I’ve had in the last couple of years.”
Watch Seani’s post-match thoughts in full now on iFollow PNE.