Frustrated Horgan wary of getting used to life on the sidelines
After his football year in 2016 steadily got better and reached a peak at the end of it, Daryl Horgan has faced a different challenge this time around.
The ex-Dundalk man is an impact sub at Preston and still waiting to make a proper breakthrough for his country and he doesn't want to be satisfied by that.
It can happen, of course. Some individuals can slot into a squad role quite comfortably and become accustomed to that brief. Horgan is finding it slightly harder to adjust having been the star man in Dundalk's Europa League run.
He went straight from there into Simon Grayson's side at Preston and made an Ireland debut in March. But he has found opportunities harder to come by since Grayson departed in the summer and Alex Neil took over.
All four of his league appearances this term have come off the bench.
"It's not something I want to get used to," says the Galwegian. "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.
patient "It's been quite frustrating but the way it's been at the minute - we have done well, we started very, very well, it's been difficult to get opportunities
"Everyone says you have to be patient and I am giving the same advice to everyone else. When it's yourself you just want to play.
"There is that element of keeping the head and keeping focused and that's something I have to do. You can't throw the toys out of the pram.
"You don't want to see any manager leaving their post but that's the way it is. Alex Neil has come in, he's a very good manager, I have enjoyed working with him. He's impressed me in the way we are playing and the style of football we have."
Without a run of games, the clamour for Horgan's inclusion on Irish duty has quietened somewhat. Sean Maguire, a regular at Preston, is a talking point due to Ireland's striker problems although his club have also used him wide in a high pressing approach.
Therefore, it's a long shot that Horgan will figure against Moldova and Wales with others ahead in the queue. Still, he knows how fortunes can turn quickly. Last Tuesday, he watched on the bench in Preston's struggle at Hull but was given a late call and made the winner.
"I was feeling terrible until the 78th minute but felt great at the end," he says. "They are the highs and lows."