Wednesday 20 March 2019

Boss heaps praise on hero Daryl

First goal since March for Horgan

Preston manager congratulates Daryl Horgan
Preston manager congratulates Daryl Horgan

Preston boss Alex Neil has challenged Ireland international Daryl Horgan to keep coming up with displays his like Man of the Match performance in his side's weekend win.

It's been a frustrating time for Horgan of late, as he has been unable to get a regular place in the starting XI with Preston, he was axed from the final Ireland squad for the World Cup play-off matches against Denmark, and he has also struggled to find the net.

But Horgan made a big impression as a sub for Preston in Saturday's win over Burton Albion, scoring the winner for his first goal since March.

"The ball dropped perfectly for me, to the exact place I wanted it to drop," said Horgan.

"Fortunately it bounced nicely and landed for me and I managed to put it in. It's great that we are five matches unbeaten now, with three wins in there."

Horgan and fellow Dundalk graduate Andy Boyle have been starved of starts under Neil but the Preston boss was very impressed with the Galway man's display, and now Neil wants to see more of that from Horgan.

"Daryl was excellent and I've got to admit it has been a really frustrating time for him," said Neil.

"To be fair, that is the best I have seen him and he would admit that himself.

"He has been wanting an opportunity and hasn't had that many of those.

"Daryl is a good lad, works extremely hard but he has to put those types of displays in to merit being picked. To be honest, he couldn't have done any more on Saturday."

Another Ireland international who came in for praise was forgotten man Darron Gibson.

He has had a tough time at Sunderland, like the rest of the squad, but Sunderland got a boost in their relegation battle on Saturday as they held Championship leaders Wolves to a 0-0 draw.

"Darron Gibson played smart, his positional play was outstanding and it needed to be to counter the movement from Wolves' front three," said Black Cats manager Chris Coleman.

"The way they interchange, their win backs are like wingers and try to stretch you.

"You need to keep your shape and we were disciplined. Darron was a key example of that. We need these performances and these moments for a bit of heart and confidence."

Still only 30, Gibson has not been capped since the friendly against Belarus in May 2016 and has been unable to get win a place in the Ireland squad of late, but he would hope to force his way back into contention.

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