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Thursday 8 December 2016

Central role suits Ireland's Pilkington

Anthony Pilkington. Photo: Sportsfile
Anthony Pilkington. Photo: Sportsfile

Ireland international Anthony Pilkington says he's revelling in his new attacking role for Championship side Cardiff City,

The Welsh outfit have deployed Pilkington, who has played as a winger for most of his career, in a free role behind the striker in their last two games and the 27-year-old responded by delivering two goals in last week's 2-2 draw with Rotherham, though the ex-Norwich man also scored another goal at the wrong end.

"It's a new role and I'm enjoying it. Of course, I enjoy playing football and, as long as I'm on the pitch, I'm happy," says Pilkington, hoping to improve on his form with City to boost his slim chances of making the Ireland squad for Euro 2016.

"The Wolves match is the first time I've played that high up the pitch, in the number nine role. You're going to have to compete against these big centre-halves in the Championship, and you've got to do your bit for the team. It's an entirely different game, playing in that position, and I've definitely enjoyed it."

Failed

Pilkington, who made his international debut under Giovanni Trapattoni, is facing a battle to win a place in the Ireland squad for France 2016. He failed to see any action in the qualifying campaign as he was an unused sub for five games in the group stage but he has not even featured in Martin O'Neill's squad of late due to injury and loss of form and his last cap came in the friendly at home to the USA 14 months ago.

He was named in the provisional squads for the play-off matches against Bosnia, and the double header against Germany and Poland, but was unable to travel.

Meanwhile, Paddy Madden also hopes to keep up his scoring record after ended his own drought in front of goal.

Dubliner Madden, capped once at senior level in 2013, had managed just one goal in 10 games before he came up with two strikes for Scunthorpe United.

Scoring boots

"I haven't had my scoring boots on lately, so I'm just happy to get back scoring and it's a relief for me. So hopefully I can go on another run now," says Madden.

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