David McGoldrick couldn’t have timed it better.
Just hours after it emerged that Sean Maguire will miss Ireland’s upcoming World Cup play-off double-header against Denmark after suffering a hamstring injury, McGoldrick made his case for consideration against the Danes in the most compelling was possible. His superbly- headed goal — his seventh of the season —helped Ipswich to a 3-0 win over a Preston side that will have to do without Maguire for up to four months.
Saturday’s victory lifted Ipswich to within a point of a play-off spot and, while there was little style on display, Mick McCarthy didn’t care.
He said: “It was what was required. There are all sorts of different ways to win a football match.
“I have been in the Championship long enough to know that there’s a team coming to play against us that’s going to be pretty tough and resolute. It wasn’t going to be pretty.
“The second half we played well and it always looks better when you score three goals.”
Preston boss Alex Neil said Maguire will be a huge loss.
He said: “That one is absolutely devastating for us. Sean has suffered exactly the same injury that Greg Cunningham suffered at the start of the season. He is going to have to have surgery and he will be missing for between three and four months.”
Richard Keogh could also miss the clashes with the Danes after the Derby defender was forced off with a thigh injury after just eight minutes of the 4-2 home defeat to Reading.
Derby manager Gary Rowett said: “Richard came off with a quad strain. I don’t know how bad it is, but I would suggest it wouldn’t be a good idea for him to travel [on international duty].”
Callum O’Dowda has been in fine form of late and his first league goal of the season helped high-flying Bristol City to a 2-1 victory against Cardiff City. O’Dowda’s display earned him praise from manager Lee Johnson.
“To get three assists in the last few games, two goals as well, is brilliant for him and you can see him growing in confidence,” said Johnson.
“He’s always been athletic, powerful and is a pest to play against. I’m delighted for him and we continue to work with him to improve him.”
Yesterday, a brilliant double save from Darren Randolph proved crucial, as Middlesbrough beat struggling Sunderland 1-0.
“It’s a massive result,” said the man of the match. “We wanted to make it three wins in a row to keep climbing up that table.”
In the first round of the FA Cup on Saturday, Graham Carey scored the winner as Plymouth beat Grimsby Town 1-0, while James Collins was Luton’s match-winner as they edged past Portsmouth by the same scoreline.
Elsewhere, Kevin Dawson scored and was then sent off in Cheltenham Town’s 4-2 defeat at home to Maidstone United.
Yesterday, Liam McAlinden netted as Exeter City beat Heybridge Swifts 3-1.