Bolger focused on Fleetwood not transfer rumours

Cian Bolger
Cian Bolger

Fleetwood defender Cian Bolger has shrugged off rumours about his Town future as simply speculation and stressed he is committed to the club and to preparing for another season at Highbury.

After a stellar first year on the Fylde coast that saw him crowned Town’s Player of the Year, it was no surprise to see Bolger’s name connected with Championship clubs in the national media.

The former Bristol Rovers man was linked with a return to that city with the Gas’ rivals Bristol City.

But almost a year to the day since his switch from Southend, the 25-year-old Irishman says he enjoyed last week’s return to training at Poolfoot Farm and is fully focused on another season in the heart of Uwe Rosler’s defence.

It was a meteoric rise for Bolger, who made his first league start for Town in the 2-1 home win over Gillingham last October and progressed to become one of the first names on the teamsheet, helping Town to finish fourth in League One.

Bolger, who is tied to Town on a two-year deal, said of the close-season rumour mill: “It is just speculation at the end of the day and it is part and parcel of football. When you do well, that comes with the territory.

“I’m just enjoying being back and being focused on getting a good pre-season in.”

Bolger may be staying put at Highbury but rumoured Millwall target Conor McLaughlin and midfielder Jimmy Ryan’s will both be out of contract at the end of the week.

But Town have prepared for the summer exits by securing the signatures of last term’s loan star Kyle Dempsey from Huddersfield, Hull defender Harvey Rodgers and Everton striker Conor McAleny.

Bolger is back in full training after spending the latter stages of the campaign in the wars as battled through the pain barrier with an ankle knock.

Bolger said: “I think we can be proud of what we achieved over the course of the season.

“I don’t think anyone expected us to be where we were and think we have got a lot to build on.

“Hopefully we can go into the season full of confidence again and achieve it again.”

Millwall boss Neil Harris confirmed the Lions are in talks with Fleetwood’s out-of-contract defender Conor McLaughlin – but it is understood others are chasing the full-back’s signature.

Town withdrew the offer of a new contract for the 25-year-old last week and now a host of Championship clubs are fighting to snap up the Northern Ireland international on a free transfer.

Fleetwood head coach Uwe Rosler revealed last week that McLaughlin had a number of clubs lined up and League One play-off final winners Millwall are believed to lead the chasing pack.

Leeds and Barnsley are also reported to be keen but Millwall boss Harris revealed his club have spoken to McLaughlin’s agent.

The defender is currently on honeymoon in the USA and Harris said: “We have spoken to Conor’s representatives. We know his attributes from last season.

“Any out-of-contract player who was top-standard in League One last season is going to be liked by a lot of Championship clubs and so-called bigger teams in League One.

“We are doing our due diligence in terms of getting the right players in and also the right kind of presentation to impress those boys we want to come and play for us.”

McLaughlin has played 200 games since joining Town from Preston in 2012 and has become a key player.

Rosler believes he deserves to play at a higher level. The Town boss said: “Conor told me he wanted to play in the Championship and has clubs lined up. He totally deserves this opportunity on the back of his outstanding performances over time for our football club.”

Fleetwood have also withdrawn their contract off to midfielder Jimmy Ryan, who is hotly tipped to link up with his former Chesterfield boss Paul Cook at Wigan.

Ticket prices have been confirmed for Town’s Carabao Cup first-round match at home to Carlisle United on Tuesday, August (7.45pm).

Standing (Memorial Stand): adults £12, seniors £6, U16s £2; seating (Parkside and Highbury Stand): adults £14, seniors £7, U16s £3. Tickets go on sale at the club on Monday.