Thursday 29 September 2016

Preston eye O'Dowda as Westwood race starts

Published 02/06/2016 | 02:30

Callum O'Dowda of Republic of Ireland in action against Dzianis Paliakov, left, and Mikhail Sivakov of Belarus during the EURO2016 Warm-up International between Republic of Ireland and Belarus in Turners Cross last night. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Callum O'Dowda of Republic of Ireland in action against Dzianis Paliakov, left, and Mikhail Sivakov of Belarus during the EURO2016 Warm-up International between Republic of Ireland and Belarus in Turners Cross last night. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Irish duo Callum O'Dowda and Keiren Westwood could have club matters to distract them from training this week as they are set to become the subject of summer transfer speculation.

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O'Dowda has been invited to stay around and train with Martin O'Neill's squad for the rest of this week, despite missing out on the final 23.

He was never a serious contender to make the cut but has impressed in training and in his brief debut against Belarus at Turner's Cross on Tuesday.

Preston manager Simon Grayson was at the game and is understood to be interested in bringing the highly regarded 21-year-old to the Championship.

Graduate

O'Dowda secured promotion from League Two with Oxford this term but he is expected to quickly graduate to a level above League One. In January, a proposed move to Derby County collapsed due to personal terms.

He was praised by Roy Keane yesterday, with the Ireland assistant believing that he showed more composure on the ball than senior members of the squad.

"Callum seems a really nice kid, really confident and not too cocky," said Keane. "I think he's enjoyed the few days he's had with us so the manager has asked him to stay on and, guess what, he said yes."

Meanwhile, Westwood - who made the squad at the expense of David Forde following an outstanding Championship campaign - could be on his way back to the Premier League after it emerged that he has a £2.5m release clause in his Sheffield Wednesday contract.

Everton, West Brom and top-flight newcomers Hull and Middlesbrough are all understood to be considering a move for the 31-year-old who was unable to get a prolonged Premier League run when he lined out for Sunderland.

Westwood was Sheffield Wednesday's best performer in their play-off final defeat to Hull last weekend and he previously worked with their boss Steve Bruce at Sunderland.

Irish Independent

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