08:00 Monday 21 October 2013

Adam McGurk eyes Northern Ireland and Burton Albion partnership with Billy Kee

Written byDAVID BROOME

NDET 19-10-13 RKH 10 Chesterfield V Burton Albion NDET 19-10-13 RKH 10 Chesterfield V Burton Albion

ADAM McGurk is dreaming of a day when Burton Albion can boast an international strikeforce.

The County Antrim-born striker bagged both goals in the Brewers’ 2-0 win at Chesterfield on Saturday to take his tally for the season to five and jump to the top of the club’s goalscoring charts.

He passed fellow Northern Ireland under-21 international Billy Kee on the way, and can see a time when the duo are leading the line for club and country.

“It would be good for Burton if we do,” said McGurk, who was called up for the Green and White Army senior team earlier this year but has yet to make his debut.

“We’ll just have to wait and see.

“I spoke to Michael (Michael O’Neil, Northern Ireland manager) just before I signed here and he said he’s going to keep an eye out and have people watching me.

“You need to keep scoring goals to get the praise and attention, so that’s what I’ve got to do, and if it comes about, it comes about.

“You just have to worry about week to week, and if we are getting goals and the call comes, it’s a bonus.

“You don’t really worry about it, it’s just about week to week stuff.”

With five strikers on their books all offering different options, Albion have tried a number of partnerships so far this campaign.

But Kee and McGurk had shown promising signs in the brief time together before the younger partner was sent off last weekend, ruling him out of the Chesterfield game.

McGurk said: “I think me and Billy have done well in the game and a half that we’ve played together.

“He’s easy to work with.

“You either connect or you don’t connect with players, and we seem to have a good understanding even just in training.

“He’s back from his ban and hopefully we can get a good partnership and get some more wins for the club.”

McGurk’s brace came in four first-half minutes, and he made them both look easy.

The first saw him collect Lee Bell’s pass, turn his marker and glide between the Chesterfield centre-halves before calmly beating Tommy Lee.

“As a defender they’d probably have wanted to do better, but I just saw the space and they let me turn,” he said.

“Then I saw the keeper go down early, and you work on that during the week, so I just kept calm and put it in the goal.”

The second was a move off the training ground, as Chris Hussey got down the right, checked back onto his favoured left foot and swung in a cross which McGurk, having got away from his man to rise well at the back post, simply nodded home.

And the 24-year-old revealed: “We had a laugh on the coach because I said in the last couple of games no-one’s created anything for me and he (Hussey) said ‘I’ll get you one today’.

“You shouldn’t miss those chances and they’re great when they come along.”

McGurk has been used on the wing for much of his time at Burton so far, but looked comfortable playing as a lone frontman at the ProAct Stadium, using his body well to shield and hold up the ball.

He looked every inch the modern striker that Gary Rowett called the deal of the summer when he snapped him up despite interest from Championship clubs, but the former Aston Villa trainee was not completely satisfied with his performance.

“I haven’t got a hat-trick yet in my career, so when the two went in I was thinking I was gonna get it,” he said.

“I had one or two chances so it’s a bit frustrating, but at least we got the win.

“At my past clubs I’ve played wide, and I don’t mind it, but I see myself playing down the middle.

“I feel more comfortable.”

McGurk has played every league game for Albion since his arrival, and so has borne witness to both their unbeaten form of August and their winless sequence in September.

Of the Chesterfield victory, he said: “It’s just one win.

“We need to get a run going, and get four, five, six on the bounce to get back up the league.

“It’s a bit false where we are in the league, because of the three games where getting a man sent off in the first half has killed us.

“We’ve looked good when we’ve had 11 men on the pitch.

“I don’t think there’s any team, apart from maybe Portsmouth, who have been better than us.

“So we’ll go out Tuesday and try and get another win.”

McGurk now has five goals for the season, and said: “I really want to get 10 by the start of January, that will be good, and if I’m playing down the middle I think I’ll get goals.

“That’s what you’re there for playing up front, to put the chances away.”

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