Republic of Ireland striker Sean Maguire is targeting a strong 2019 after finally returning from injury for club Preston North End last Sunday.

Maguire had a disrupted year with hamstring problems causing him to sit out for two months on two occasions.

He appeared as a substitute at Deepdale in the FA Cup in the defeat to Doncaster Rovers – where former West Ham and Cork City team-mate Kieran Sadlier made his debut for the opposition.

"It was a good feeling to be back out there amongst the boys," Maguire told their club website.

"I felt that 2018 wasn’t the best of years for me on and off the pitch.

"This is a fresh start, new year, it hasn’t been the best of starts for the team – with two losses – but to be back amongst the boys, training, coming in knowing I am going to be training and having that matchday feeling back is brilliant and I just have to step up the fitness now, take each games as it comes, hopefully get back in the team and try and push the team up the table.

"It is about managing myself; speaking to the gaffer, Tom Little and Jacko every single day and taking each day as it comes," he continued.

"Whether that’s assessing my training load or getting in the gym and doing my strength work, it is about being patient.

"I haven’t been probably fully match fit since before my first hamstring injury. In the summer I felt good, but I didn’t play any competitive games. So, the main focus is getting back fit and the best way to do that is in games. You can train as much as you want, but games are totally different."

Maguire has revealed he used last summer to try to get stronger by maintaining levels of training, but will now take his injuries into account.

Going forward, the former City player will prioritise "thinking logically".

He added: "I pulled out from going with Ireland over the summer and I didn’t really have a summer off. Even when I was on holidays I was working in the gym, harder than ever.

"If the boys are training four times a week, I might need to do three days and then get myself in the gym doing my strength work on my hamstrings and my quads.

"It is about being honest with the physio, with Tom Little and the gaffer every day and if I feel tired one day there is no point keeping it quiet, as it could cost me further down the line.

"I have to be smarter – I am 24 years of age now, I have been in the professional game since I was 18, so when I wake up in the morning I have to think ‘is it a good day to train’.

"It is a case of thinking logically about it and hopefully I have turned a corner and it is a fresh start with the new year and I can kick on."