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Interviews

Ryan McLaughlin Confident Dale Can Pick Up Where They Left Off

1 August 2019

Ryan McLaughlin hopes Dale can carry the feelgood factor from the end of last season into the new campaign.

Six wins from the final 11 matches saw Dale avoid relegation from Sky Bet League One, and the full-back is confident of picking up where they left off.

“The second half of the season went really well for the team, and I really enjoyed the time here,” said McLaughlin.

“I was buzzing to get back in for pre-season and to see everybody again, because the feelgood factor around the Club was there for all to see and the performances on the pitch were very good. We’re just hoping to keep that going in the new season and keep pushing on.

“All the lads are raring to go and we all feel confident in each other’s abilities, and in Brian as well as Manager.

“We’re all really excited as we feel we’ve got a good nucleus here to do really well, and we’re hoping we can do that this season. Hopefully we can bring positive results for the fans and make the Crown Oil Arena a really hard place to come to for opposition teams.

“Pre-season has been really enjoyable. We went to Portugal which was a great trip for team bonding, especially with some of the new lads who have come in and fitted in really well.

“We’ve played a lot of games over pre-season and there’s nothing better than match fitness. Everybody is in really good shape and raring to go on Saturday.

“Kevin Gibbins, who has come back to the Club, has been brilliant in structuring everything perfectly for everybody, so there haven’t been many injuries over pre-season.

“Everybody seems in great shape and a lot of it is down to him, so we’re all really happy to get the season started on Saturday.”

During the summer, McLaughlin, who has five caps for Northern Ireland to his name, was called up to his country’s training camp in Manchester, an experience he thoroughly enjoyed.

“It was brilliant. I know all the lads well from over the years of meeting up.

“It’s always a positive experience to meet up and play with players from higher up in the leagues, because I get to test myself against that calibre of player.

“It was very good and it’s always a great experience. It will only help me improve as a player and bring me on.”

McLaughlin’s older brother, Connor, joined fellow League One side Sunderland during the summer.

Dale face the Black Cats during August, and the 24-year-old can’t wait to face him!

“I’ve played against him a couple of times when he was at Fleetwood Town. It’s always one of the fixtures you look for when the season starts.

“I don’t think my Dad looks forward to it too much, because he doesn’t know who to support, he just hopes both of us do well!

“We’ll probably be on opposite sides of the pitch. I want to come into contact with him, but I’m sure for my Dad’s sake he’ll be buzzing if we don’t!

“I can’t wait to play him against him. He’s joined a very good team, and a strong team in League One, so I’m sure they’ll be looking to get promotion this season. Hopefully we can be a stumbling block in their way.”

The Northern Irishman also had some kind words about fellow right-back Luke Matheson, who is now full-time with the Club after signing scholarship terms in the summer.

“I think he’s got a great future ahead of him. He’s been called up to England which is brilliant for the Club as well, to have someone recognised as an England international.

“Luke can do whatever he wants in the game. We just want to help him get better and better, give him more experience, and if I can help in any way as a right-back then I will.

“He’s a great lad and he’s always eager to learn. We’ve all been in that situation where we’ve been young and coming in, so we all know how he feels.

“We’re all here to help and make him feel as comfortable as possible. As a player he’s brilliant, he knows he’s good enough to play alongside us, so that confidence is going to come from himself as well.”

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