With the changing of the Preston managerial guard which has seen Alex Neil replace Simon Grayson, game time at Deepdale has proved harder to come by for Daryl Horgan this season.
Formerly the hottest property in the League of Ireland, Horgan understands that patience is a virtue in football but, he concedes, knowing that and implementing it are two different things.
“Everyone says you have to be patient and I am giving the same advice to everyone else but when it’s yourself you just want to play,” he says.
“Keeping the head and keeping focused is something I have to do. You can’t throw the toys out of the pram because everyone is in the same boat, everyone is working hard and the manager has a tough job to make his decisions.
“But it’s not something I want to get used to. I think if you get comfortable with it you can slip back and I don’t think I will ever be content doing that. You have to keep working away, keep the head down, and if the opportunity comes be ready so you have no excuses if the manager calls on you.”
He applies the same methodology to being in the Irish camp.
“You approach it like you want to play, definitely, you work as hard as you possibly can,” he says.
“You may be a bit out in the pecking order with the manager but he has done it before, put in players who haven’t played, and I will be ready to play if it comes.”
Even the fact that he received another international call-up has come as a lift, he admits.
“Definitely. A lot of times it’s about who is playing and what not. The manager, having that bit of faith to keep me in when I am not playing, has been brilliant. Any opportunity to come in is great, really enjoyable. We have two big games coming up and it’s great to be part of it.”
Meanwhile, asked where his sympathies lie as his two former clubs, Dundalk and Cork City, bring yet another year of their rivalry to a conclusion, Galwegian Horgan grins and says: “Pretty much all with Dundalk.”
Indeed, with brothers Colm and Kevin at Galway United and Shamrock Rovers respectively, Horgan reckons his ideal season back home would be “either Dundalk or Rovers to win the cup and Galway to stay up, yeah, that would be very, very good for me.”
And while he’s happy to salute the impact Sean Maguire has made at Preston and welcomes his call-up for Ireland — “It’s well deserved, he’s been very, very good for us and for Cork when he was there” — City’s imminent title doesn’t appear to occupy too much space in his thoughts.
“Ah, I’ve more important things to be worried about,” he grins again. “Galway staying up would be a priority for me.”
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