Jon McLaughlin gives concerning contract update as he opens up on Sunderland future and the season so far

Jon McLaughlin says talks over a new contract at Sunderland have still not resumed.

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 9:28 am

After a stellar campaign last time out, the Scot was the subject of significant interest from numerous clubs in the summer.

Chairman Stewart Donald said that Sunderland would not sell and that a new contract would be offered to the player after the transfer window closed in August.

He also claimed that the goalkeeper’s agent would have to be ‘more realistic’ when the parties returned to the table.

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Jon McLaughlin in action at Fleetwood Town

Then manager Jack Ross called repeatedly for his future to be secured, praising the ‘high quality, low maintenance’ performer.

However, those talks are still to restart four months on and so the 32-year-old has now entered the last six months of his deal.

It has subsequently been a turbulent campaign for the goalkeeper, who has seen his form dip and Lee Burge take his place on more than one occasion.

He is back in the side now and made some fine saves to help his side rescue a 1-1 point against Fleetwood on New Year’s Day.

“From my side, we have no idea [where the contract talks are at] and we have no control over that,” McLaughlin said.

“At the start of the summer it looked very positive.

“It looked like they really wanted to get something done but it’s gone very quiet very quickly. There was the takeover that fell through, the change of the manager, the form of the team and also myself.

“At the end of the day, all I can do is concentrate on trying to keep my place in the team, put in positive performances, be a worthy member of the team and the squad and try and turn those results.

“Then hopefully if you can do all of those things, then [other] things take care of themselves.

“From my point of view at the moment, I’m just waiting to see if anything comes of that and in the meantime I’ll just concentrate on my football.

“I’m happy to be back in the team, I just want to contribute to the team and squad as best I can, whether that’s playing or if I’m not, supporting the boys and making sure that everyone about the place is working in the same direction and that we’ve got a good harmony,” he added.

“At the moment we’re doing that, working hard and staying together, because we know we’ve got enough out there to be going on a run and dragging ourselves back into the mix.

“I’m happy to be part of that and all I can do is concentrate on that.”

McLaughlin knows he has a battle on his hands to recapture his best form and keep Burge out of the team, and is eager to help Sunderland turn around their form.

He remains hopeful that he will be able to extend his stay at the club and admits it has been a challenging period both for himself and the club.

“There’s lots to deal with and it’s as much a mental battle, they’re long old seasons,” he said.

“When you’re unsure of your future and people are asking questions, and there’s lots of speculation, people not knowing the full story, it’s difficult because you just want to get on with your football.

“Whatever happens, we all want the very best for ourselves and the football club this season and beyond. You wish everything could be sorted and the head to be clear, but at the end of the day, that’s part and parcel of it. I’ve been around long enough, I’ve moved about, I’ve always tried to be in the right place for myself, and I really hope that it continues to be here.

“I was more pleased than anyone than when they came to us in the summer and made the noises about wanting me to stay long term,” he added.

“It’s a huge club with so much potential.

“I’ve moved around plenty before, for myself and the family, that’s not easy.

“We made this move because we felt it was somewhere we could potentially stay for the rest of my career, and help ride this wave back up to the very top.

“From my point of view, we’re not looking to jump ship just because everything has not been rosy for a short period.

“I’m still one that can hopefully be part of the group that turns this around and gets the positive feeling back and drives us back up the leagues.”

Sunderland’s league position remains a source of immense frustration, the Black Cats languishing in 13th position.

It remains a very open contest for the top six places and four points from two away games has at least kept the Black Cats on the fringes of the race.

McLaughlin insists the squad are sticking together and believes confidence is starting to return.

“There’ve been positives in the [last two] performances and the way we’ve gone about our business,” he said.

“Of course, it’s all about results, but we can come off the pitch and look at ourselves and say we’ve done enough to win these games. We created a lot of chances and looked good for the win. We didn’t get and that’s the difficulty for us at the moment, but at least we’re taking positives from these games now.

“Last season and this season has been about fine margins. We were riding just on the right side of that and came up short at the very end last season but that’s always the way it is in these divisions. You’ve got to go out there and earn the right, it’s always a really tough contest in this league and at the moment, we haven’t had the results.

“But we’re not far off it. It doesn’t take an awful lot with what we’ve got in this group and hopefully we’re starting to do that, and in if the confidence comes back, that will go a long way.”