Leeds lead pursuit of Fleetwood’s McLaughlin

Conor McLaughlin
Conor McLaughlin

Leeds United and other Championship clubs have been linked with a swoop for Fleetwood Town’s Euro 2016 star Conor McLaughlin.

The 24-year-old right-back joined up with Town for the first time since the Euros yesterday to fly out to Holland for the club’s pre-season tour.

McLaughlin missed Town’s first two pre-season games against Liverpool and Salford City, who Fleetwood beat 4-1 on Saturday, having been given extra time off by manager Steven Pressley after representing Northern Ireland in France.

McLaughlin appeared in only the first of his country’s four games at the Euros, playing the full 90 minutes in the group C defeat by Poland.

He remained on the bench from then on as Michael O’Neill’s side were beaten at the first knockout by eventual semi-finalists Wales.

The former Preston defender said before jetting out to France that he hoped to use the tournament as a “shop window”.

And it appears his lack of match action has not prevented the League One player catching the eye of clubs at a higher level, with Reading and Bristol City also rumoured to be interested.

However, The Gazette understands that Leeds have made contact with Fleetwood in the past few days about the defender’s availability and that Town are anticipating an offer from the Elland Road club.

McLaughlin has a year left on his Fleetwood contract, but manager Pressley told The Gazette before the Euros that the club would be prepared for the possibility of offers on his return.

Pressley said: “Part of the recruitment process is that we are aware Conor might play himself into a position where the club receives offers from other clubs.

“He has one more year before his contract runs out and we have to take that into consideration.

“These things have to be done right. If it (the right offer) happens, we do have to know our options.

“We are aware of that and we have to be ready for that possibility.”