Millwall in talks with departing Town star McLaughlin

Conor McLaughlin
Conor McLaughlin
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Millwall boss Neil Harris confirmed the Lions are in talks with Fleetwood’s out of contract star Conor McLaughlin - but it is understood they are one of many Championship clubs chasing the full-back’s signature.

Town withdrew an offer of a new contract to 25-year-old right wing-back McLaughlin last week and now a host of Championship clubs are fighting it out 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 already with League One play-off final winners Millwall now believed to be top of the chasing pack.

Leeds and Barnsley are also reportedly keen on the 1016/17 EFL right-back of the season and Lions boss Harris says the club has spoken to McLaughlin’s representatives.

The defender is currently on honeymoon in the USA with his future anticipated to be finalised on his return to the UK with his current Highbury deal set to expire this week.

Harris confirmed McLaughlin is one of his targets.

He said: “We have spoken to Conor’s representatives. We know his attributes from last season.

“He is the sort of calibre and quality of player that we’d be interested in.

“Any out-of-contract player that 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 who we want to come and play for us.”

McLaughlin joined Town from Preston North End in 2012 and has become a key player at Highbury during his 200 game stint on the Fylde coast.

The defender helped Town clinch promotion from League Two in 2014 and played a big role in Town’s fourth-placed finish last season.

But after Town just missed out on promotion to the Championship as they lost 1-0 to beaten finalists Bradford in the play-off semi-finals McLaughlin’s future no longer lies at Highbury as he bids to return to the second tier.

And Rosler believes the full-back deserves the opportunity to play in the Championship.

He said: “Conor told me he wanted to play in the Championship and he has clubs lined up and he will most likely go and play in the Championship.

“He totally deserves this opportunity on the back of his outstanding performances over time for our football club.”

Fleetwood also withdrew contract offers to out of contract duo striker David Ball and midfielder Jimmy Ryan.

Ball will officially join Town’s new League One rivals Rotherham on a free transfer later this week with Ryan hotly tipped to link-up with his former Chesterfield boss and new Wigan manager Paul Cook again.