Sean Maguire 'manhandled' against Martin O'Neill's Nottingham Forest

Sean Maguire
By Steve Neville

Sean Maguire had a reunion of sorts with the coaching team who gave the striker his international debut, but he also got some rough treatment according to his club manager.

The Preston forward started in the scoreless draw with Nottingham Forest at the weekend, with Forest now under the leadership of ex-Ireland boss Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane.

Preston boss Alex Neil was not happy with how O'Neill's charges treated Maguire, or by the referee's lack of protection for the striker.

Speaking to the Lancashire Post, Neil said: "I never condone coaches or anyone really asking for bookings

"But sometimes it’s the only way to prevent really aggressive challenges on your players.

"I thought Sean got manhandled probably six or seven times in the first half.

Alex Neil

"The referee did speak to the player but sometimes just settling it down by giving a caution and saying, ‘Listen, that’s unacceptable’ can then allow it to be more of a football game."

Maguire scored 10 goals in his first season at Championship level but has endured a stop-start time at Preston due to injuries.

So far he has only featured 13 times in the league this season, scoring once.

Speaking about the Forest game to iFollow PNE, Maguire felt he wasn't at his best.

"Nottingham Forest wasn’t my best game personally, but the previous two games you could see that was me back to my best," said the Ireland international.

"There are 13 games left to go and I have a marker I want to finish the season on and I will hope to reach that.

"I think [last week] was the first time I had started three games in a week in around 14 or 15 months, but I felt great. We are through that now, we have a week to recover to be ready for the next big game, at the weekend."

Speaking about his lack of goals this term, Maguire told the club's website he isn't worried.

"Before the injury I was focused on scoring goals and winning games, but coming back from injury it was about finishing games, making sure I was topping up on match fitness and sharpness, but last week was still a really important goal for me.

"Confidence wise it was big, and in the game, it was an important goal for us, as it came as Norwich were getting on top.

"I want to build on that now. I want to finish the season on a high. I feel I am at my peak fitness wise and match sharpness wise."

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