McLaughlin: ‘There’s nowhere else I’d want to be’

JAMES McLaughlin insists signing a new contract with Coleraine was the only thing on his mind as he put pen-to-paper on a new two-year deal…

The striker committed his future to the club on Saturday HERE and will hope to add to his tally of 39 goals in 96 appearances.

The 29-year-old admits the last 18 months were ‘horrendous’ after suffering an ACL injury but hopes that setback is now firmly behind him.

“I’m glad to get the deal over the line as we have been chatting about it for quite a while,” he said.

“It’s good to get it done and concentrate now on football.

“There’s nowhere else I’d want to be so for Rodney to approach me with a new contract I was delighted with that.

“I wanted to get back fit and score goals as quickly as possible.

“The last 18 or 19 months have been horrendous, although the boys have done really well the whole time I was out.

“Watching games drives me mad as I want to be out there and playing.”

McLaughlin started the 2017 Irish Cup final defeat against Linfield but was ruled out of last season’s decider against Cliftonville.

However, with a semi-final date against Crusaders on the horizon, the Moss-Side man is craving silverware with his local club but knows competition for places are now heating up at The Showgrounds.

“We chatted about a few weeks ago about the new boys coming in and seeing the success we have had in this changing room in the Irish Cup in recent years,” he added.

“I feel as if I’m one of them new players as even though I was involved last season in terms of the squad, I didn’t play.

“I have a great hunger now to go and win it myself.

“We needed more competition for places.

“There’s not much point turning up and knowing you’re going to play as you perhaps don’t give it everything you have.

“You always need somebody pushing you so you can keep striving on.”

The ex-Ballymena United marksman is eyeing up 100 appearances for the Stripes and has hailed his relationship with the manager.

“I get on very well with Rodney,” he continued.

“Since the first day he came through the door we have had a good laugh together.

“He is very down to earth and he’s very easy to chat too.

“It will be very nice to reach 100 appearances.

“Not many people grow up in the town and then play at the highest level for Coleraine.

“To play 100 games would be a special feeling.”

The Bannsiders will hope to return to winning ways on Friday night as they face Newry City – a side who they have failed to beat in the previous two encounters.

“Newry are a very strong side although the league position doesn’t really show it,” James concluded.

“They work very hard and they made it difficult for us the last time we played them up there.

“We know we will be in for a real challenge.

“We sort of owe them one in terms of our previous results against them.

“We will go there and give it our all and see where it takes us.”