Pressure's off and Conor enjoys freedom to attack
Fleetwood full-back Conor McLaughlin says the pressure is off this season , with Town sitting pretty towards the top of the table rather than looking in the opposite direction at the halfway mark.
Town are eighth in the League One table and three points off a play-off spot as they prepare for their final game of 2016 against Oldham at their home fortress.
Like Town 12 months ago, Oldham are at the wrong end of the table and are bidding to climb off the bottom tomorrow.
And McLaughlin says a good start, brilliant team spirit and new boss Uwe Rosler are all ingredients which helped transform the club from relegation candidates to play-off contenders.
The 25-year-old Northern Irish international said: “The team spirit is brilliant.
“Last year we were around the bottom of the league, so obviously it was hard. It was hard coming into the training with the pressures of being down there.
“Everyone wanted the lads to stay up last year and that was a massive pressure.
“But this year we have got off to a good start and it has helped the momentum, and with the new gaffer and his experience of playing at the top with (Manchester) City, he has helped us a lot as well.”
McLaughlin and fellow full-back Amari’i Bell have been moved around a lot over the last few weeks, starting as midfielders in the Boxing Day draw with Bury before reverting to wing-backs.
McLaughlin, who ended the game on the right of the defensive three, says he has enjoyed having more freedom to attack.
He said: “I’ve enjoyed it and I’m sure Amari’i feels the same.
“We have been able to get into the box a lot more to try to score goals. We have both got a couple now but whatever formation we play we will be happy with.
“The strikers we have got will score plenty of goals but it is always nice to chip in.
As for the more central defensive role, he added: “I’ve played it before, and with all the injuries we’ve had I have had to go there towards the end of the games. I don’t mind that because I do get a bit of the ball and I like playing out of the back.”