Preston North End’s Irish international forward Sean Maguire says that a midweek without a game for the first time since mid-November has been a welcome rest for the players, mentally as much physically.
The Lilywhites have played on the last four midweeks, with nine games in 28 days, so an eight game break before the Christmas fixtures is something that has been welcomed at the Euxton training ground, according to PNE’s No.24.
“It has been a hectic couple of months since the last international break. This eight days without a game is the longest we have gone in the time and it has been nice,” he told iFollow PNE.
“The gaffer gave us a couple of days off and it was much needed by the players and the staff, so it was good to regroup and recharge ahead of these next few important games, starting at Derby on Boxing Day.
“It is important we continue to pick up wins and it was a good win against Bristol City, which boosted everyone’s morale and confidence and now we can take those three points forward.
“The rest is important mentally, as much as physically. Your body starts to get used to game after game, after game and it was nice to switch off [mentally] ahead of these next coming games.
“It can be quite tough when you play a game and the gaffer wants to analyse that game, but he has another game three days afterwards, so he has to just focus on the next game – so it was probably nice for him to have a couple of days rest and days off before another big game against Derby on Saturday.”
The former Cork City striker has played as the No.9 in the last couple of games and has enjoyed his role in the team: “I have been quite happy with how the season has gone personally,” he continued.
“The last couple of games the gaffer has asked me to play a different type on role to what I have been used to the last couple of years and I have really enjoyed it.
“Me and DJ bounce off each other and I like the way we have played and with Scotty [Sinclair] in the form he is in and Barky is always a threat with his pace, we have caused teams problems.
“The other day [against Bristol City] I felt quite comfortable, even though we were only 1-0 up, I never felt they were going to score. I know Dec made a good couple of saves, but I always felt we were in control and their keeper made a few saves – pulling one out of the bag from Emil.
“Everyone is contributing well in the last couple of months and it was nice for us to have a rest on the back of a win and now we can have a good week’s training before the next two or three games.”
The Boxing Day fixture sees North End make the trip to take on Wayne Rooney’s Derby County at Pride Park and Maguire has been impressed by their form since the former England and Manchester United legend took caretaker charge of the Rams.
“They have had a change of manager and probably a change of style. I saw their last game, against Swansea and they have kept three or four clean sheets in a row, which is hard to come by in this league.
“They were well-drilled against Swansea and deserved to win. They scored two nice goals, so it won’t be an easy task. In this league, there is no-one you should take lightly and you should show the utmost respect to every team in this division.
“No league position tells a story, so we will be going into the game having prepared to try and take three points from it,” he added.
There’s more from Seani in the video above, as he talks about the support of the PNE faithful in what has been a difficult year for everyone – just click on the video to watch our full chat with the Irish international striker.
You will be able to watch the full game at Pride Park live on iFollow PNE on Saturday afternoon, with coverage starting from around 2.30pm, with Guy Clarke in the commentary box – click here now to sign up for a match pass for £10.