FORMER Ringmahon Rangers man Alan Browne was in sensational form for Preston North End on Saturday afternoon as the English Championship side booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
The 22-year-old midfielder Browne found the target twice as Preston were comfortable 5-1 winners of Wycombe Wanderers.
It was a great all-round display from the side, who also had former Cork City and Dundalk winger Daryl Horgan among the goals.
Browne’s first goal came in the 38th minute and it was an absolute cracker. The ball came to him 25 yards out and after leaving it bounce once, he unleashed a wonderful half-volley into the top corner.
Browne’s contribution on the goals front was not done yet however as in the 78th minute, he stepped up to successfully convert a penalty kick.
Having joined Preston from Cork City in 2014, Browne has been an ever-present and consistent performer. Browne is a technically gifted player who is comfortable in possession and capable of playing as a holding midfielder or in a flat midfield two. Browne has also acted as the anchor in a midfield three on occasions for Preston and operates at his best sitting slightly deep.
Through qualities such as his work-rate and as showcased on Saturday his eye for a spectacular goal, Browne has all of the ingredients to go on and make the Ireland central midfield spot his own over the coming years ahead.
“I haven’t scored for a while so to score any goal was great but to score a goal like that made it even sweeter.
“Regarding my second goal, DJ (Daniel Johnson) is usually on penalties but obviously he wasn’t on the pitch. As soon as I got my hand on the ball I wasn’t letting go,” said a delighted Browne when speaking to the local press after Preston’s victory about his two goals.
The Mahon native is enjoying life along with his teammates, including a strong Irish contingent, at the present moment. On top of being in the FA Cup fourth round now, Preston are currently ninth in the Championship and three points off the playoff places.
So there will be plenty of big games for Alan Browne to make another impact in over the coming months.
Browne was not the only Corkman in action on FA Cup 3rd round Saturday, as Stephen Ireland made his first appearance in 609 days for Stoke City, starting in the 2-1 defeat to Coventry City.
Also just days after he completed his move to Ipswich Town, Aaron Drinan was on the bench for Ipswich’s cup tie against Sheffield United.