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INTERVIEW: There's only good things to come

Sean Maguire on his move to Cumbria and making an impact

7 September 2023


INTERVIEW: There's only good things to come

Sean Maguire on his move to Cumbria and making an impact

7 September 2023

Striker Sean Maguire became summer signing number eight at the end of July, so it seemed somewhat crazy to be welcoming him to the club over a month later with his first official interview this week.

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By no means the fault of the player – the dreaded ‘something’s cropped up’ demon seemed to strike every time a chat had been arranged – it was good to finally get to talk to about all things new club ahead of the first training session on Monday.

“I’ve settled in well,” the experienced forward told us. “Weekends are always better when you win a game and get three points on the board, and I think it was a long time coming.

“I think the performances this season have been good overall and thankfully we’ve got three points on the board now.

“I’ve been really enjoying the games as well. I think I’ve been here four or five weeks now and I’m loving playing in front of the fans at Brunton Park. It’s a really nice atmosphere and a nice club to be at.

“There’s a good feeling around the place and it feels like good things are going to come. On a personal level, it’s been a year or a year and a half since I’ve been playing regular football and I think the fans have still only seen glimpses of what I can do.

“I feel like I’m getting better with each game I play and feeling more confident and fitter. I’m maybe a couple of weeks away from being at my best, so there’s only good things to come.”

And that’s something that has been very visible with his energetic performances finding favour with the appreciative fan base.

“I do think that as the games go on I’m getting sharper and fitter,” he agreed. “I think the Exeter game was my first 90 minutes in well over a year and a half after having a few injuries and not being in the team.

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“The more games I’m playing the better I’ll be, and that will also help build relationships with the lads on and off the pitch. I don’t think the fans have seen the best of me yet, and hopefully the first goal will come sooner rather than later.

“The one on Saturday did come off my back first so I might have to see if we can get something sorted to get it down as my goal!”

Whether the EFL agree to give him that goal or not, it was his movement that caused the confusion in the first place.

“The gaffer has been onto me for the past couple of weeks about making sharp runs into the box across the front man,” he explained. “I’ve done that for the corner and it took a nick off my back, whether it was going in or not, I’ll claim it as my goal and hopefully the EFL will change it and it’ll go down as mine.

“I’ve had a couple of half chances, so it does feel like it’s coming. The good thing is that we created plenty of chances as a team on Saturday.

“There was the one where I nicked it and Luke played me in during the first half, but the keeper did well and the defender came across well. There was one in the second half where Mox played me in and I should really be getting that on target.

“I’m getting the opportunities now and the more game time I get I know I’ll score a lot of goals for this club.”

Good for any player is to get the recognition for the efforts from the supporters, as was the case for the 29-year-old when he left the field of play towards the end of the Shrewsbury game.

“When you come off and get an ovation like I did on Saturday it just fills you with confidence,” he admitted. “I know I’ve been playing well but when you come off and you can feel how much the fans appreciate you it’s good to be able to soak it in.

“It means a lot, especially after only playing a couple of games, so hopefully that continues. We’ve only played six league games so there’s a lot more to come from us as a team, and from me personally.

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“I spoke to the manager during the week about how when results aren’t really going your way the dressing room can be a bit quiet and boys can get low on confidence.

“I didn’t sense that at all within this group because everyone knew that the performances weren’t too bad and the results weren’t far away. Thankfully we were on the right side of the result on Saturday and it gives us something to build on now.

“We’ve got two tough away games coming up, but that doesn’t mean we can’t push on. Stevenage were in League Two as well last year, but they’ve started the season well, they’ll probably be a different kind of side to what we’ve played so far this season.

“We’ll take full confidence into the games coming up and keep pushing forward. It’s important for us to build on this now. You obviously only need a one goal swing to win a game, but I think it was important for us to get the second goal on Saturday.

“We’ve had a couple of draws then been on the wrong side of a couple of results like Oxford and Port Vale. It didn’t feel like the Exeter game was a 2-0 game, it felt like we deserved to come out of that with something.”

The important business of another busy month of games aside, we wondered what had swung his decision to head up to Cumbria ahead of the start of the new campaign.

“I had a couple of options during the summer, I spoke with the gaffer here early during pre-season,” he revealed. “I liked the way he wanted to move the club forward and I liked the way he wanted to use me in the team.

“There are various formations he likes to play and it’s worked so far. I spoke to Hunts as well and he did a good job of persuading me to come!

“I know a couple of the lads already and the rest of them are a great bunch. It’s going well so far, when you’ve played with players before you always keep an eye on the results of the clubs they’re at.

“With Hunts signing here last year I kept an eye on the results last season and the way the club is moving forward now makes me glad to be part of it.

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“I do still feel like I have a point to prove whenever I go somewhere new. I was at Preston for five and a half years then went to Coventry for six months, but it didn’t work out.

“I’m only 29 but I do feel like I’ve got a point to prove not only to myself but to everyone else. When you haven’t played regular football in over a year - I don’t think you get forgotten about, but sometimes people can forget how good of a player you are.

“With regular football and getting my confidence back I know I can bring a lot of goals and a lot of joy to this football club.”

Having mentioned that recent spell with limited pitch time, we wondered how he’d dealt with what must have been a frustrating period.

“When you aren’t playing it can be hard, all you want is to be out on the pitch enjoying it,” he said. “It’s a short career and I’ve been playing professionally since I was 17.

“I moved to West Ham for a couple of years then had a few loan spells. Then I had a lot of good moments at Preston. I have a house there and I had good moments on and off the pitch.

“I think I played over 170 games for Preston, so I had a really good time there. I feel like there are even better moments to come going forward, and hopefully it’s with this club.

“I’ve learned a lot since coming to England. I went to Preston as a number nine striker but in the last six or seven years I’ve learned to play in various positions across the front.

“I feel like I can do a bit of everything, and for a guy who is 5”8 or maybe 5”9.5 on a good day, I feel like I can hold the ball up well. I like bringing others into the game and I like to spin in behind as well.

“At the weekend I felt like when Mox or Gibbo were on the ball they were looking to play me through when I was on the shoulder of the last defender. I see myself as an all-round striker rather than being a specific type. Hopefully the fans will get to see what I mean.”

And what about the step up to international level and the caps he’s earned for his country?

“I think I’ve played 12 times now for Ireland and it’s always an honour,” he commented. “I’ll never rule it out again, I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully bring goals to this football club, and the performances that come with that.

“You never know what might come, I’d never rule it out, we’ll just see in the future. First and foremost it’s about doing my job here.

“The lads obviously had a great year last year by coming up through the play-offs but we don’t just want to be happy to stay in this division. I think with the players we’ve got in this team we’ve got a really good chance to push forward.

“I think the league is open this year and whether we end up finishing top half or looking at the play-offs, I don’t think we should limit ourselves. If we keep winning games and getting some real confidence in the dressing room, you don’t know where this year could take us.

“And I do see a future for me at this football club. I’ve settled in really well with the fans off the pitch and with the boys on the pitch. I think I’ve played three or four home games now and I’ve really enjoyed it.

“When we scored the first goal the fans really got behind us on Saturday and it was a really good atmosphere. Even when we’ve had moments in games where we’ve been behind, they don’t get too disheartened, they get right behind us.

“They travel in their numbers as well which is a real credit to them. Hopefully we’ll bring them a lot of joy this season by doing well in the league.”


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