Horgan shines as Preston dent Brighton’s promotion hopes

Manager praises Ireland midfielder’s ‘fantastic’ league debut for Championship club

Preston North End’s Callum Robinson  celebrates after he scores his side’s second goal against Preston. Photograph: Clint Hughes/PA Wire

Preston North End’s Callum Robinson celebrates after he scores his side’s second goal against Preston. Photograph: Clint Hughes/PA Wire

 

Preston manager Simon Grayson reckons Daryl Horgan came close to producing a dream league debut for the Championship club on Saturday when the Galway man played a major part in a 2-0 defeat of Brighton that cost Chris Hughton’s side top spot in the table.

  “We saw what he could do when he went on for a 10-minute cameo in the FA Cup tie against Arsenal and I had no hesitation in starting him against Brighton. He didn’t let me down. He keeps the ball, he is bright, he is busy and he has got good delivery.

“The only thing that was missing was a goal when he hit that great effort with his left foot. If that had gone in it would have sealed a fantastic debut [but] I am really pleased with him.”

Horgan had a hand in the team’s second goal with the winger producing a fine ball for Callum Robinson to run on to and he came close to scoring himself 13 minutes from time when he did well to make some space for himself but narrowly missed the target with a curling shot.

“To play the full 90 minutes is brilliant,” the player said afterwards, but to also beat top of the table comprehensively as well is great. Callum did brilliantly for his goal. Maybe we could have had one or two more but we did well.”

Man of the Match

 It was certainly a confident display by the 24 year-old who looks set to keep his place for next Saturday’s visit to Aston Villa although it was actually 21-year-old Cork man Alan Browne who earned the Man of the Match award.

  The win moves Preston up to ninth in the Championship table, six points off the last of the play-off places while the result allowed Newcastle to overhaul Brighton and take top spot after Murphy came on to score the winner at Brentford.

  Murphy replaced Dwight Gayle, whose outstanding form has made him an automatic starter up front this season, after 30 minutes and the Irishman may get further opportunities over the coming weeks if the hamstring injury that forced the 26 year-old off proves to be serious.    

  Back at home, Horgan’s former club, Dundalk, continue to rebuild for the coming season with the league champions confirming the signings of Jamie McGrath from St Patrick’s Athletic and Niclas Vemmelund, the 24 year-old Danish defender who spent last season with Derry City. It was also confirmed that David McMillan has extended his stay with the club with the 28-year-old former UCD striker having agreed a new contract. Sligo Rovers have signed teenage striker Matt Stevens from Peterborough on loan until the end of June.

  Club, league and FAI officials, meanwhile, have all failed to respond to requests for comment on reports that first division club Wexford Youths could be liquidated as part of the fall-out of Mick Wallace’s ongoing financial problems.

  Youths are reported to owe just over €200,000 to Wallace’s company M&J Wallace and in the absence of a deal to address at least some portion of the debt, it is reported that the liquidation of the club, which was relegated to the first division last season, is being considered.

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