Town’s McLaughlin eyes a play-off push

Conor McLaughlins 2016 has seen him impress for both Fleetwood Town and Northern Ireland
Conor McLaughlins 2016 has seen him impress for both Fleetwood Town and Northern Ireland
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Conor McLaughlin sees no reason why Fleetwood can’t mount a play-off push in 2017.

Town spent Christmas Day eighth in the League One table, two points off Peterborough and a play-off spot.

And the Northern Ireland international who made his 150th appearance for the club in the 1-1 draw at Swindon last time out hopes Town will take the confidence they have gained from the first half of the season into 2017.

When asked if Town could get in the play-offs and have a shot at reaching the Championship for the first time, McLaughlin said: “I don’t see why not.

“We have played nearly every team so far once coming now to Christmas so we know we could have been a lot better off with some of the games we’ve played and some of the points we have dropped.

“We will take confidence from the first half of the season and know that we can get in the play-offs.”

McLaughlin had to get stitches after picking up a cut above his right eye in his 150th game at Swindon on the same day that captain Nathan Pond also made his 450th appearance.

It could have been a different story for the defender who admitted he considered quitting the game towards the end of his time at Preston North End.

The 25-year-old has gone from strength to strength, winning the League Two play-off final and is now one of the first names on the team sheet for both Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler and Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill.

He said: “The 150 appearances, I’m very proud of it.

“Credit to Pondy as well because he keeps knocking off the records and he has been unbelievable for this club.

“Towards the end of my career at Preston I was thinking about chucking it all in but I love football too much, it was a tough time but I came here and Fleetwood gave me the chance to play more regularly.

“I’ve managed to do that and get myself into the Northern Ireland set-up.”

Fleetwood host Bury tomorrow and Oldham on New Year’s Eve and McLaughlin is hoping for nine home wins in a row.

He said: “It is going to be tough. Any game in this league is tough as anyone can beat anyone.

“We will be targeting two home wins because we had a decent result on Saturday (at Swindon) and we want to keep that run going.”