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Burton Albion: McLaughlin shows safe pair of hands

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 08, 2014

By Tom Sloan

CONFIDENT ... Burton's new keeper Jon McLaughlin.

CONFIDENT ... Burton's new keeper Jon McLaughlin.

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JON McLaughlin is taking nothing for granted at Burton Albion.

The 26-year-old goalkeeper has arrived at the Pirelli Stadium after several years at Bradford City.

He racked up almost 150 appearances in all competitions and joined the Brewers last month as the final piece of manager Gary Rowett's summer jigsaw.

Despite playing every match for the Bantams in League One last season, McLaughlin knows he does not have a divine right to the No1 shirt.

"The manager's not said I'm No 1," said the Edinburgh-born keeper.

"I don't think that would ever be the case and I don't think I'd ever want that to be the case.

"You go to clubs and it doesn't matter if you've been there 10 or 15 years and you've been playing hundreds of games for a club, you've got to fight for your place and make sure you're the best one to be playing.

"I'm sure with this manager, and the way he outlined it to me, as with most managers, the best players will play – the ones in the best form who are going to do the best job on a Saturday or a Tuesday night.

"You can maybe come to a club and think you've got a good chance of playing but if you're not performing it's not going to happen.

"I've been at Bradford for many years, fighting doggedly with other keepers for the shirt.

"I'm definitely not coming here thinking I've got some kind of right to the shirt.

"It's all going to be based on performances.

"I'll try to earn that shirt and keep it."

McLaughlin was part of the Bradford team which won promotion two seasons ago and has enjoyed a full campaign in League One.

He is well-placed to comment on the differences between the two divisions and reckons, a few ex-Championship clubs aside, League One and League Two are quite similar.

"I really don't think there's a great deal of difference," he said. "I spent six seasons in League Two with Bradford.

"When we made the move up last year and played the full season – and of course there are some teams that you go to who've had experience of the Championship and maybe have squads full of players who have the quality of a Championship team – they're the ones you feel where you've made a step up.

"But for the most part, most teams run on very similar budgets – League One and League Two – they have players who've played in both divisions and there really isn't a massive difference.

"That's why you've seen the likes of Bradford do well last season and finish in the top half.

"Rotherham actually went one better, had a fantastic season and won promotion.

"There is quality in that league and it is nice to make a step up but it's definitely not a massive chasm, as you'd say the gap between League One and the Championship is."

Now, McLaughlin is gunning for another promotion with the Brewers, starting at Oxford tomorrow.

"We've had two seasons where we've come so close and had the heartbreak of the play-off final last year and I think they all know it's time for this club to move forward," he said.

"They've shown they're very strong in this division and we've improved again this season, so the expectation has to be promotion.

"That's putting pressure on ourselves and expectation, but that's what you need to do if you're an ambitious football club."

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