Sean Maguire is desperate to put an injury-hit period behind him and "kick on for club and country".

The Preston North End attacker has suffered hamstring injuries that have halted his excellent progress at Deepdale and deprived the Kilkenny man of more Republic of Ireland caps.

Maguire is in the panel for the Nations League double-header against Denmark and Wales however, and sees a golden opportunity to establish himself as Martin O'Neill's go-to striker.

"It's been a frustrating year," he said. "Sitting down here last year, I didn't really have injuries - a year later, I've had two.

"Hopefully, I've put it behind me now and can kick on for club and country. At the weekend, it was an important game for us and an important win, getting a crucial three points.

"We haven’t had that goalscorer since Robbie Keane left. I don’t think we will ever fully replace him, given the number of goals he has scored for his country. I feel there is an opportunity for one of the four new lads coming in to stake a claim for a jersey.

"If I get the opportunity hopefully I do step up to the plate and play a crucial part, if that’s coming off the bench or from the start of the game, we’ll see what happens."

Maguire is likely to be used cautiously by O'Neill on Saturday against the Danes. 

He returned to action against Wigan last Saturday, playing the final 20 minutes of a 4-0 win. That was the ex-Cork City man's first taste of action since he broke down in a pre-season friendly at Oldham at the end of July.

But he insisted he's fit enough to answer O'Neill's call if and when it comes.

"It’s my body at the end of the day, and I just need to talk to the physios here and monitor here, and keep in touch with Preston.

"You have to monitor it day by day, as I’ve only been back in training for four weeks.

"I’ve only played 45 minutes in a practice game and 20 minutes at the weekend, so I have to take it day by day.

"If I’m named in the starting XI then I’ll be more than happy to step up to the plate."

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