McLauglin stakes claim for more Fleetwood starts

Conor McLaughlin in action against Torquay
Conor McLaughlin in action against Torquay

Defender Conor McLaughlin is desperate for a longer run in the Fleetwood Town side, having played in back-to-back victories for Graham Alexander’s men.

The Northern Ireland international has found it hard to secure a permanent place in the Fleetwood side since arriving from Preston North End in the summer of 2012.

But the 22-year-old hopes his involvement in the 4-1 thrashing of Torquay United and Town’s 2-1 Johstone’s Paint Trophy win at Tranmere will help his cause.

“It’s hard when you’re not in the team,” said McLaughlin. “You’ve just got to keep yourself going.

“The gaffer has said he’s not afraid to change it, so it’s just a matter of keeping yourself fit and hungry, and waiting for your chance which has come for me in the last two games.

“I’m delighted to have got a start at Tranmere and got 90 minutes in on Saturday. Hopefully I can be part of things against Bury on Saturday too.”

Town dominated against Alan Knill’s Gulls and could have been further ahead at the break.

A late consolation for Elliott Benyon took the gloss off the afternoon and sparked a dressing room row over who was responsible for spoiling Fleetwood’s clean sheet.

McLaughlin knows how disappointed everyone was to concede.

“The lads did really well in both games,” he said. We over-ran Torquay from the start.

“We set a good tempo and really didn’t let them get into the game. We’re upset to have conceded a goal. We wanted a clean sheet, but it’s a testament to the lads that they are disappointed about conceding one when you’ve scored four.”

Midfielders Antoni Sarcevic and Matty Blair were among the scorers for Fleetwood, a first half double for former Crewe youngster Sarcevic setting Town on the road to victory.

And McLaughlin, who isn’t afraid to get forward and support attacking play, is delighted to see the goals spread about. He said: “It’s not just the lads who are starting who are providing up front.

“Matty Blair’s come on as well and got one. Jamille Matt’s on fire right now, so is David Ball.

“The gaffer has got a lot of selection headaches at the minute, but I suppose he likes it that way.

The two goals for Sarcevic, on his return to the side 
after injury, were his first for the club and McLaughlin is delighted for the midfielder, who joked before the game he would not find the net.

“Antoni Sarcevic’s goal has been coming for a while,” 
insisted McLaughlin.

“He’s got it into his head he’s not going to score. I asked him before the game if he was going to and he said, ‘No’.

“But you can see the quality he’s got, I’m delighted for Matty as well. “He’s worked so hard, 
being out of the team, and he deserves that. “It will do him the world of good.”

Another of Town’s summer midfield signings is busy helping out at the back and playing a vital holding role. Stephen Schumacher’s experience really helps us,” said McLaughlin, who is happy to have assistance from an experienced head. He knows when he needs to help his two centre-halves or help the full-backs out.

“He’s been playing at a higher level for most of his 
career. He knows his job and he’s got quality on the ball as well.”

Town face Bury at Highbury on Saturday. Kick-off is at 3pm.