PADDY POW­ERS IRON AS­SAULT...

and in-form striker hopes for Ir­ish call

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Nick Lough

WITH the Re­pub­lic of Ire­land pre­par­ing for their do-or-die Euro 2016 play-off tie with Bos­nia, one Dublin-born striker is hop­ing his goals can at­tract the in­ter­est of Martin O’Neill.

Scun­thorpe United striker Paddy Mad­den is cur­rently the high­est goalscor­ing Ir­ish­man across the top four di­vi­sions, with his to­tal of ten in all tour­na­ments mak­ing him the most lethal striker in League One.

The 25-year-old for­ward ad­mits he is de­lighted with his stel­lar start to the sea­son, smash­ing all of his early tar­gets even though he has been op­er­at­ing from an un­fa­mil­iar po­si­tion on the wing.

Un­fa­mil­iar

Mad­den told The FLP: “Nine league goals plus my one in the Cap­i­tal One Cup has got me into dou­ble fig­ures for the sea­son al­ready, which is very good.

“I’m not play­ing up front, I’m play­ing on the right wing. A lot of wingers would take ten goals for a whole sea­son, so to have ten now is fan­tas­tic and I’ve not fin­ished yet.

“Hope­fully I can keep my ap­pear­ances up and keep scor­ing, and who knows how many goals I might hit?”

Handed his first and only se­nior cap for the Re­pub­lic of Ire­land by Gio­vanni Tra­p­at­toni in Au­gust 2013, Mad­den im­pressed the Ital­ian with his work ethic and abil­ity to get into threat­en­ing po­si­tions be­hind the defence.

Un­for­tu­nately for the former Yeovil and Carlisle striker, the 76year-old was given his march­ing or­ders by the Ir­ish FA just a month later, with Martin O’Neill over­look­ing the striker so far dur­ing his ten­ure.

Mad­den is not giv­ing up on his hopes of rep­re­sent­ing his coun­try once again, with the be­lief that a con­tin­u­a­tion of his form and his goals in the claret & blue of Scun­thorpe can help force his way back into the Green Army set-up.

He said: “I’m not too sure the way the new man­ager works, whether he only picks Pre­mier League and Cham­pi­onship play­ers, but all I can do is keep scor­ing goals with Scun­thorpe and hope­fully get no­ticed.

“I think I showed against Wales in my first in­ter­na­tional game that I didn’t look out of place; on an­other day I would have prob­a­bly hit a hat-trick in 25 min­utes.

“Things didn’t quite go to plan and their keeper made quite a few good saves from me, but I got into some good po­si­tions and had three good chances against a team who have qual­i­fied for the Eu­ros. I played against a lot of Pre­mier League play­ers and I didn’t look out of place.

“I know if I was to get into the set-up on a reg­u­lar ba­sis I will score goals. I have con­fi­dence I can score at that level and I just need to be given the op­por­tu­nity.”

With Mad­den bang­ing in the goals left, right and cen­tre, he has proven to be one of the key fig­ures in the Iron’s re­vival af­ter a slow start saw them lan­guish­ing near the foot of the League One ta­ble.

Now, con­fi­dence is high around Glan­ford Park as Mad­den and his crew are within touch­ing dis­tance of the play-offs.

The for­ward be­lieves that the team fi­nally have a strong un­der­stand­ing on the pitch, and that this sea­son’s League One could throw up many sur­prises along the way.

“You’re not al­ways go­ing to hit the ground run­ning straight away with all of th­ese new play­ers, but we’ve gelled now and we know how each other likes to play, so we’re start­ing to get a lot of wins and rack­ing up those three points,” he said.

“I don’t think there’s go­ing to be any­one run­ning away with the ti­tle like Bris­tol City did last year.

“I think this sea­son any team can beat any­one, it’s a very hit and miss league this sea­son and I ex­pect it to be very tight to­wards the end all over the board.”

Tar­get

Look­ing to­wards the rest of the cam­paign, Mad­den ad­mits he is fo­cused on rack­ing up at least 20 goals in League One, back­ing his own abil­ity to pro­duce the goods in front of goal.

Mad­den: “My tar­get ev­ery sea­son is al­ways to get 20 goals. A few years back I man­aged to hit 24 in one sea­son with Yeovil at this level and I man­aged 17 with Scun­thorpe by the end of last sea­son.

“I al­ways av­er­age at least 15 in this league. With play­ing out wide more, it may be dif­fi­cult but I’m just hop­ing I can get to that 20 mark by the end of the sea­son.

“I’ve just got to stay hun­gry all the time, not hun­gry as in be­ing self­ish and think­ing all about your­self but in a sense that you keep work­ing hard in train­ing and keep go­ing.

“If you get big-headed you’re no good to any­body so you have to stay hum­ble and if you work hard the re­wards will fol­low.”

Per­haps for Scun­thorpe United and the Re­pub­lic of Ire­land...

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

HUNT­ING GOALS: Scun­thorpe’s Paddy Mad­den in typ­i­cal ac­tion and, in­set, Eire boss Martin O’Neill TASTER: Mad­den is in­ter­viewed by the press while on Re­pub­lic of Ire­land duty in Wales in 2013

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