Conor’s major tests and texts

Conor McLaughlin
Conor McLaughlin
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CONOR McLaughlin revealed his extra inspiration ahead of Fleetwood Town’s back-to-back away victories – a text from Shaun Beeley.

The Northern Ireland U21 defender has been handed his chance of first-team football thanks to an injury to Beeley, and knows his fellow full back is looking out for him despite their rivalry.

McLaughlin said: Everyone wants to play games. It’s just unfortunate for Shaun he’s got the injury.

“But he’s been texting me ahead of the last two games to wish me luck.

“We’re good friends off the pitch, even if we are rivals for the position. He’s been supporting me.”

McLaughlin was part of the Fleetwood side which claimed victories at Torquay on Saturday and Oxford United on Tuesday, rocketing Graham Alexander’s men into the play-off positions.

The 21-year-old added: “I’m glad to be playing again and to be part of these two away wins has been fantastic.”

“They were two tough away matches but to come away with six points is brilliant.

“We’ve had to dig in a little more than we wanted to, but we took maximum points and that’s the main thing.”

And the former Preston defender, a Deepdale team-mate of his Fleetwood boss, made it clear what a challenge it had been to beat the Us.

“At Oxford we really had to battle,” he said. “People were putting their bodies in the way of the ball to make sure we got the three points and that’s what we need to be doing.

“I think at 2-0 up we had another chance to score which could have killed the game, but we did what we had to do.

“We just keep rolling forward and getting points on the board.”

Town are in the midst of an injury crisis, with Gareth Evans, Jon Parkin and Nathan Pond all sidelined, along with Beeley.

But McLaughlin was confident Fleetwood had the strength in depth to weather the storm.

He said: “We’ve had injuries but the people who have come in have done well. That’s down to the strength of the squad.

“You know you can’t rest on your laurels. If you don’t perform, there’s somebody waiting to come in and take your place.

“Results like we’ve had help, and if we keep this form going we should be strong towards the end of the season.”

Saturday represents another tough test for Fleetwood as fellow promotion-chasers Burton Albion visit Highbury.

And McLaughlin insisted Fleetwood wouldn’t be letting up the pace as they bid to climb into the automatic promotion places.

He said: “We’ve had two long trips but the lads prepared well for both games and I’m sure we’ll keep that work up ahead of Saturday.”