Defenders’ goals are key for Fleetwood says Conor

Conor McLaughlin

Conor McLaughlin

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Conor McLaughlin says Fleetwood can have a better season if he and his fellow defenders chip in with more goals.

McLaughlin has already overtaken last season’s tally of two goals, having built on his winner at Chesterfield last month by finding the net in Town’s last two games.

The Northern Ireland star fired home from close range in last week’s 3-0 win over Shrewsbury, then nodded home in injury-time to secure a 2-2 draw at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

McLaughlin’s goals came straight after fellow wing-back Amari’i Bell had also scored in successive games this month, against Southport and Chesterfield.

Central defender Cian Bolger netted his first league goal for the club at Wimbledon on Saturday and now McLaughlin wants more players to contribute goals to help Town’s strikers.

Ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup second-round trip to Shrewsbury, he said: “It’s strange – Amari’i said that when he gets one, he usually gets another straight after and now that’s happened to me.

“If we can chip in and help the strikers, then it will be a better season for us.”

McLaughlin also scored his first international goal this month, helping Northern Ireland to beat Azerbaijan 4-0 in a World Cup qualifier.

And the 25-year-old says it was an unbelievable experience to become the first player to score while representing Fleetwood Town in a senior international. He said: “It’s an honour even playing for your country, let alone scoring. It’s something I will remember for a long time.”

While relieved by McLaughlin’s goal in the south-east last Saturday, Fleetwood head coach Uwe Rosler says his men should have won.

Having led at half-time, Town found themselves 2-1 down to a Tom Elliott strike and Dean Parrett’s controversial penalty.

Joe Davis was penalised for fouling Elliott but Rosler felt the decision should have gone the other way.

He said: “I think when you see the 90 to 95 minutes we were clearly the better team. The amount of chances we had and how big those chances were, we are a little bit gutted that we did not put the game to bed early on.

“That was a very spirited point in the end because we were let down at Port Vale by the referee ... and we were let down again with a penalty situation (at Wimbledon), where our player got fouled. But my team never gives up.

“The pleasing aspect was how we play our football and how we came back from the disappointment.”