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McLaughlin ready for "tough" battle in 2018/19

Read from the right-back...

5 July 2018

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Whilst most of Millwall's squad enjoyed a relaxing and extended break over the summer, for Conor McLaughlin, it was the opposite.

After suffering an injury in The Lions' penultimate Sky Bet Championship game of the season at Middlesbrough, the Northern Irishman then flew out to Panama and Costa Rica for international friendlies with the Green and White Army.

McLaughlin may have battled against searing temperatures after a long and arduous League season, but the trip did ensure that the right-back's fitness levels remained at a reasonable level ahead of the return to pre-season training in late June.

"I'm happy enough with my fitness levels, I was away with Northern Ireland for a bit in the summer, so that helped - I didn't lose too much fitness," he told "It's been a good start.

"They were tough conditions [abroad]. I was injured for a bit at the back end of last season so I wasn't fit enough for the first game against Panama, where it was about 35 degrees at night. I managed to get back for the Costa Rica game and got the last half hour. It was very hot but I enjoyed it."

With attentions firmly turning to the 2018/19 campaign, the question remains whether The Lions can rubbish the bookies' predictions once more and secure a top-half finish in the League table.

The 26-year-old described Millwall's "want" to upset the odds for a second season running, as well as talking over his ambitions - domestically and internationally - for the new campaign, including the battle for the right-back spot with Mahlon Romeo.

"I think we can [surprise again]. All the lads are really positive after last season and we want to improve again. If the bookies don't think we'll stay up then let them have their own opinions. We showed last year what we can do and we want to do that again.

"At club level, I hope to start the season like I did last year, show that sort of form again and keep it going for as long as I can. It was a good battle with Mahlon in the second half of last season, he did really well. It's going to be tough, but I'm looking forward to it.

"Internationally, the UEFA Nations League begins in September, so I'm hoping to get some matches in there, as well as a game against the Republic of Ireland in November."

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