Eoin Toal admits Wembley success could ensure big league finish for Bolton Wanderers
Wanderers have yet to beat Argyle this season but Toal, who was speaking after Northern Ireland’s home defeat to Finland, hopes a Wembley success will ensure they have a big end to the season.
Ian Evatt’s side currently sit in fifth place, some 16 points behind leaders, Argyle, but Toal believes a strong cup final performance could ensure they finish their league campaign on a high, with promotion still a realistic target.
"Hopefully we can finish the season strongly, that's our aim,” he insisted.
"It's going to be a hard game for both teams, but hopefully we can put in a good performance, something similar to our performance against Sheffield Wednesday recently.
“This cup final on Sunday would give us a really good kick for the last eight games in the league and we’ll see where that takes us. Then hopefully I'll be back involved in the international squad in the summer.”
The 24-year-old was part of Michael O’Neill’s squad for last week’s Euro 2024 qualifiers and although he didn’t feature in either the San Marino or Finland matches, he did enjoy the whole experience.
"It was a good experience to get called into the senior squad for the first time, I really enjoyed my week away,” he added.
"I obviously learned a lot as well, just about the whole senior set-up. As I said, I really enjoyed the whole experience.
"It's mad with the way football works and it's something now to look forward to going back in training for the cup final on Sunday."
Alongside Toal from Wanderers in the NI camp were team-mates Conor Bradley, who continues to shine on-loan from Liverpool, and striker Dion Charles, who netted a brace in the Green and White Army’s win in San Marino.
The big defender was quick to point out that both Bradley and Charles helped him to settle into things on the international stage and said that while he was disappointed not to feature in either match, that first international call-up has given him the taste to try and experience it more later in the summer.
Northern Ireland face Denmark and Kazakhstan in June and Toal hopes to continue to do well at club level so that he will receive another call-up and maybe in the summer get some game time to earn his first cap.
"Conor and Dion were brilliant in the two games and it was good to have them in the squad as we're all really good mates at Bolton,” explained the ex-Derry skipper. “Both of them helped me this week and I thought they both played really well in the matches.
"It was a big step for me to get called up and those two guys in particular helped me settle into things. All the lads in the squad were great.
"Playing at Bolton over the last few months has obviously helped my cause to get into the squad.
"I'm now hoping to keep playing well for Bolton over the remainder of the season and then that will mean I'm hopefully in the mix for the squad again in the summer.”