Conor McLaughlin has secured a place in the EFL League One team of the season and now the Northern Ireland international is preparing to represent Fleetwood Town on the international stage once again.
Town boss Uwe Rosler was also crowned the EFL’s manager of the season for League One, the results based on votes submitted by a regional media representative of each of the 72 EFL clubs.
McLaughlin made history by becoming the first player to represent Town at a major international tournament last summer, when he competed at Euro 2016 with Northern Ireland. Now the 25-year-old is bidding to help his country to reach next year’s World Cup in Russia.
Conor and younger brother Ryan, who plays for Oldham, are both in contention for Sunday’s crunch qualifying clash with Norway in Belfast.
That means the wing-back will miss Town’s trip to Bury on Saturday and McLaughlin says the Norway clash is “massive” to his country in their bid to hold on to a top-two place in their qualifying group.
Germany are five points clear at the top of group C but the runners-up in eight of the nine European groups can still qualify via play-offs.
McLaughlin said: “Norway at home is a massive game considering we will all be fighting for second place really because Germany are looking like they are going to seal first spot.”
Rosler says McLaughlin’s absence is just one more issue his third-placed side must cope with as they head to Bury with a mounting injury list but with just one defeat in 21 League One games.
He said: “We have to deal with it. Until now I have not really thought about this, so now I’m starting to because the next game is on Saturday.”
Rosler says Town’s home draw with Wimbledon on Saturday was a big point mentally.
He said: “That point was a mental point. They did not outplay us. They just launched it and we could not clear our lines. They had big bodies up front, made the pitch very narrow and when we had the ball we didn’t keep it well enough.
“That was the simple recipe for them. If we were fresher, we would normally deal with that better.”
EFL League One Team of the Season: Connor Ripley (Oldham), Joe Meredith (Bradford), Mark Beevers (Bolton), David Wheater (Bolton), Conor McLaughlin (Fleetwood), Josh Morris (Scunthorpe), Erhun Oztumer (Walsall), John Fleck (Sheffield United), Lee Gregory (Millwall), Billy Sharp (Sheffield United), James Vaughan (Bury).
Manager: Uwe Rosler (Fleetwood)