Alex Neil praises ‘natural goalscorer’ Sean Maguire

Preston man netted the winner against Bristol City after doing the same on Saturday

Alex Neil praised Sean Maguire after he turned match-winner Preston once again in their 2-1 victory over 10-man Bristol City at Deepdale.

The 23-year-old forward, a summer signing from Cork City, came off the bench and struck twice to hand Preston a 3-1 win at Bolton on Saturday was at it again as he notched within five minutes of his introduction to ultimately settle matters.

With Maguire having undergone surgery to repair a hamstring injury at the tail end of 2017, Neil has had to resist the temptation to rush the Republic of Ireland international back into the fold but his patience appears to be paying off.

“We bring Sean on and he does what he does. Sean Maguire being back in the side is a boost as he is a natural goalscorer,” said the Preston boss.

“We looked at starting him but it’s a bit too soon and we don’t want to bring him in too soon and him break down as he is a key player for us.

“I think we’ve managed Sean very well. I had the choice over whether to play him for an hour and not have him at the weekend or give him half an hour and have him for the weekend.

“He gives us that shot in the arm.”

Victory took Preston to within one point of the Championship play-offs, with Alan Browne's stunning finish giving them the lead after 20 minutes with a 20-yard chip over the head of City goalie Frank Fielding.

The visitors levelled on 67 minutes through Famara Diedhiou, who beat his man at the near post to head Bobby Reid's cross past Declan Rudd from eight yards.

Parity lasted for just two minutes as Maguire was played in by Daniel Johnson and turned past Korey Smith before slotting beyond Fielding.

City defender Aden Flint was then shown a straight red in added time after appearing to strike Greg Cunningham off the ball and assistant manager Dean Holden suggested the FA should investigate the incident that led to his dismissal by referee Geoff Eltringham.

“Flinty has gone to ground under a challenge he may or may not have had,” said Holden.

“The aftermath is he’s got a Preston player come up to him who’s I think put his hand through Flinty’s hair — it looked like provocation.

“He’s reacted and swung his arm at him. Their keeper (Rudd), the panto villain, has made everyone aware of it and it became a bit of a mess there.

“The FA will have to look at it. It’s easy to say: ‘keep your cool’ but this is a big game and emotions are riding high.”