Maguire: I'm not fazed by speculation
He's a man who is in demand and under the spotlight, but Sean Maguire says he won't let transfer speculation affect his game with Cork City.
For only the third time in 10 league games this season, Maguire failed to score, in Friday's 3-0 win over St Patrick's Athletic, a result which keeps Cork nine points clear of the chasing pack of Dundalk and Bray Wanderers.
Maguire did claim an assist, setting up his side's second goal for Karl Sheppard but overall he had a quiet night in Inchicore, as defender Gavin Peers - who played with Maguire for Sligo Rovers - did an efficient man-marking job.
One interested party in the gate of 1,768 at Richmond Park was Preston manager Simon Grayson. The 47-year-old enjoyed one aspect of his weekend in Dublin as pictures emerged on social media of Grayson lapping up the tunes at Kasabian's gig in the Olympia on Saturday night, but it's unlikely he would have decided to sanction a summer bid for Maguire solely on the basis of Friday's display.
Preston have been tracking Maguire for some time and, given the success of Dundalk exports Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle, the Lancashire side may decide to make another swoop on the League of Ireland if Maguire fits the bill.
Their Championship rivals Reading were on the verge of offering Maguire a contract at the end of last season, when he was out of contract with Cork, but Royals boss Jaap Stam appears to have backed out of the deal having watched Maguire in the FAI Cup final, where the striker had a quiet game despite scoring the winner.
And Maguire (22) says he's not hung up on the idea of winning over any interested club managers. "I wasn't aware at all that he was there on Friday," said Maguire of Grayson's presence in Dublin.
"But even if you are aware before the game, you have to just treat it the same as any other game. It was tough for myself in that game, in Gavin Peers I was up against a physical, tough guy and he made it hard for me. The most important thing was the three points."
Maguire, who was previously with West Ham, was the subject of transfer interest last season but the club who appeared most keen, Belgian side Sint-Truiden, were not willing to match Cork's valuation of €750,000.
Boss John Caulfield, pleased with his side's second-half display in their dismissal of a Saints side still in the relegation zone, is growing fed up with the speculation about his star striker, who may be the subject of bids when the next window opens.
"There are three months to go until July. If something happens, it does and if it doesn't, it doesn't. I can't do anything about it. I just have to keep everyone focused and make sure we're ready for a massive game next Friday night," he said, looking ahead to Friday's game at home to Bray Wanderers.