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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Sean Maguire hoping to play more than 'a cameo role' in Nations League games

Sean Maguire says he's ready to put a "frustrating" year of injuries behind him and "kick on" for both the Republic of Ireland and his club Preston.

The Kilkenny native has recovered from two hamstring injuries and is in contention to play for Ireland against Denmark in the Nations League on Saturday.

Goals have been thin on the ground in recent games for Martin O'Neill's side, and the former Cork City striker is hoping to seize the chance if called upon this weekend.

He said: "I feel there is an opportunity for one of the new lads coming in that only have a couple of caps to stake a claim in the starting 11 and claim a jersey for each international trip.

"Hopefully, if I do get that opportunity, I can step up to the plate and play a crucial part, either by coming off the bench or starting a game."

Maguire has only managed one brief appearance off the bench for his club since recovering from a serious hamstring problem.

Republic of Ireland boss, Martin O'Neill said: “Somebody who has had a bit of history as Seanie’s had in the last 14 or 16 months with hamstring problems, the last thing they (Preston) want to see is him coming in off 15 minutes at club level, finding him playing for us at a big level, and his hamstring going again, as they need him.

"But he has been back, as Seanie said, a number of weeks and they finally put him in there as sub, so I will really have to consider that and see if he can play a cameo role for us."

Gareth Bale looks set to win his fitness battle and play for Wales against Ireland next Tuesday.

The star forward suffered a recurrence of a groin injury in Real Madrid's defeat to Alaves last weekend and he is expected to sit out Wales' friendly against Spain tomorrow.

However, the Welsh management are reportedly upbeat about Bale's chances of recovering in time for next week's Nations League clash at the Aviva Stadium.