Conor McLaughlin: So easy to settle in again at Fleetwood Town

Conor McLaughlin says settling into life back at Fleetwood Town has been easy after his return was confirmed yesterday.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 8:00 am

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Fleetwood Town confirm signing of Conor McLaughlin on free transfer

McLaughlin spent five years at Highbury between 2012 and 2017, helping them into League One and coming close to reaching the Championship.

The defender, who has 43 Northern Ireland caps, then moved into the second tier with Millwall before spending the past two seasons at Sunderland.

Conor McLaughlin has won 43 Northern Ireland caps

He was released by the Black Cats this summer, paving the way for a return to the Fylde coast after overcoming injury.

It was another injury – Darnell Johnson’s season-ending Achilles problem – which opened the door for the 30-year-old to return.

Town were only able to sign McLaughlin on a short-term deal, which will be looked at again in January.

They will have a choice of paying off the EFL loan that has left them under embargo or offloading a squad member to make room for him.

McLaughlin said: “It’s weird. When you start off at a new club, you’re really nervous going in because you don’t know anyone but I knew near enough the whole building except for a couple of players.

“It was really easy settling in the first few days. It’s a good group of lads as well, which helps.

“The first day I came in, the first person I saw was the chairman (Andy Pilley), and he welcomed me and brought me up to the office.”

McLaughlin picked up an injury towards the end of last season, having been eager to play his part in Sunderland’s push for promotion.

His willingness to help the team may have come at a cost, with McLaughlin then finding himself in the position no player wants.

“It’s been a nightmare to be honest,” he said. “I got injured in the last game of last season and then ended up released and injured.

“It was difficult going in with the Sunderland physio trying to get fit, but the physio was really good with me and got me back into shape.

“The only serious injury I’ve had was at Preston. The one at the back end of last season was a strange one because we had a defensive crisis at Sunderland.

“I’d held off surgery on a hernia. I got that done and then came back too quickly.

“It was probably to my own detriment that I was coming back so quickly – I was fired into games straight away because of an injury crisis.

“You want to be playing games, so it’s sort of your own fault at the same time.”

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