Jon McLaughlin 'desperate' to clinch Sunderland promotion as defender bids farewell to club
Jon McLaughlin says he is 'desperate' to seal promotion with Sunderland next season - having claimed it was naive to think the club would seal an instant return to the Championship.
The Scottish stopper, who was handed an international call-up earlier this week, featured in all of the Black Cats' League One games as they narrowly missed on promotion from the third tier.
And while disappointed to miss out on success in the play-offs, McLaughlin believes some perspective is required after the major upheaval at the Stadium of Light last summer.
But with the club now on a more stable footing, the 31-year-old admits the entire squad are keen to put their disappointment behind them and return to the Championship next season.
"Everyone on the outside was a little naive if they thought getting Sunderland up was going to be an easy gig," he said, speaking to the Scottish Sun.
“Some people seemed to think a huge club like Sunderland would just waltz out of League One in a canter. Wage bills don’t win you games though.
“It was always going to be a tough task, we knew that. The management staff have done a really good job dealing with all the upheaval.
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“Sunday was a tough one to take. It’s devastating for everyone at the club. We came so close.
“We have to use this and learn from this. Hopefully it will give us some fire in our bellies for next season. We’re desperate to put this club back in the Championship.”
Meanwhile, defender Jimmy Dunne has apologised to Sunderland supporters after his loan spell at the club came to an end.
The Republic of Ireland international said he was 'truly sorry' he couldn't help in delivering promotion after returning to Burnley following his half-season stint on Wearside.
In a tweet, Dunne said: "Would like to thank @SunderlandAFC for having me and letting me experience how valuable it is to be part of such a wonderful club with fantastic support.
"I’m truly sorry we didn’t achieve promotion but when this club goes up it will be more than ready. Good luck."