Sean Maguire has enjoyed something of an notable return to first-team action with Preston North End. Having been sidelined through injury for a number of months, the former Cork City man has scored 3 goals in two crucial wins against Bolton and Bristol City.
Sitting only one point shy of the Championship playoff places, Maguire's return to form could be coming at a very profitable time for Alex Neil's side.
Although Martin O'Neill will have preferred if Maguire's current form was coming before Ireland began their World Cup campaign in Russia, he too will no doubt be pleased that the 23-year-old is finding his scoring feet in English football.
Looking quite at home now in England's second-tier, it has not been a blemish-free start for Maguire however. Speaking to Off the Ball, Maguire spoke about the difficulties that have plagued him on his return to England:
[The injury] wasn't great timing, we were flying it in the league and had the World Cup playoff coming up, but any time isn't really great timing for an injury.
It's been a long, frustrating four months but ... I feel stronger than before.
A long recuperation process was helped however by the close knit Irish links that proliferate the Preston North End squad; in yesterday's announcement for Martin O'Neill's Ireland squad, Daryl Horgan, Greg Cunningham and Alan Browne all joined Maguire among the Preston contingent.
It was Browne particularly that proved extremely helpful to Maguire as he struggled to overcome the inconvenient injury:
Alan Browne lives round the corner from me. He used to collect me everyday when I was on crutches, he used to bring me into training and drop me home, bring me to the shop and stuff like that.
Also grateful to Horgan, Andy Boyle and Kevin O'Connor for coming over "to cook me dinner", it's clear that the strong Irish community at Preston helped Maguire tremendously.
There may be something of this camaraderie that has rubbed off on another of their teammates, Callum Robinson.
A 23-year-old forward who joined Preston from Aston Villa in 2016, Robinson qualifies for Ireland through his maternal grandmother from Monaghan.
Revealing to The42 of his desire to play for Ireland, it is an option that Martin O'Neill may well explore further.
Although he is under no illusions that he will walk right into the Ireland squad, Robinson cites his impression of the Irish fans as a determining factor in his willingness to enact this link:
I was gutted when Ireland didn’t get through to the World Cup but I remember seeing supporters in tears and I was just like ‘That’s what it’s about’. I haven’t played for Ireland so don’t know the feeling but when I saw that and I heard the fans, it was amazing.