Depending on who you believe, Jon McLaughlin now seems more likely to stay than go and instead of attracting offers from the likes of Millwall will be offered a new deal. However, Aidan McGeady is being touted to MLS clubs.
Meanwhile, Duncan Watmore is enjoying getting a proper pre-season under his belt and looking forward to the new season. “It was nice to get away and have a break but it would’ve been good to have gone away having won at Wembley,” he said. “It wasn’t to be but everyone has been very focused in the first couple of days of pre-season to make sure we don’t slip up this season. It’s been three years since I’ve had a full pre-season so I’m sure that will make a huge difference. It makes a big difference to fitness levels and my body is definitely feeling it after the first couple of days. I’m really enjoying it, though, we’ve done some football stuff as well as some hard graft, so it’s been a good combination. It’s been very frustrating for me over the last few years. My body hasn’t held up and I’m really just trying to keep doing my gym work and everything I can because I want to play minutes. I want to play football games and the only way to do that is by working hard on and off the pitch and hopefully, with a bit of luck, I will stay away from the injuries and string a few games together.”
In other news, now boy Conor McLaughlin has been welcomed to the fold and is looking forward to the task ahead. “It has been good but it has been tough," he said. "All the lads have made me feel really welcome which is nice as I have slotted really nicely into the group. We have mostly been focusing on fitness but also ball work. Generally, it is about trying to mimic the kind of running we will be doing in games. It has been tough but that is always the case in the first week of pre-season – but the boys are doing well. The manager and his staff have been really good so far and I am thoroughly enjoying working with them. Most of the stuff we have done is with the ball which is nice. They have made it easy for me to settle in. There are a few leaders in the dressing room. George has obviously been here for a long time and he has got an old head on a young body and he is everything that the club is about. He has been helping me a lot this week. Our first game is on Thursday against South Shields and I am already feeling the buzz ahead of getting on the grass and putting on the kit. It is important to keep fit over the summer and I have been in the fortunate position where I was with Northern Ireland until the 12th of June, so I was still in really good condition heading into my break. I only had about 10 days off before I got back into my routine to make sure I was ready for pre-season.”