Defender Conor McLaughlin spoke following his impressive performance at the County Ground, away to Swindon Town this weekend just gone. The Northern Irishman spoke on his chances at Sunderland, his first season on Wearside and how he fancies our chances of promotion this season.
"It was tough last year, I didn't do myself justice when I did get a chance last year, so it was tough to take but I was positive, kept working hard and hoped that I got my chance. If I want to stay in the team now then I need to play well, because there are a lot of good players in the squad that can take your spot. It was difficult last year, but I tried to keep my confidence as high as I could and took my chance when I got it. Football is all about confidence and last year when I was playing, I made a few mistakes and my head got down a little bit. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy, but I just had to believe in myself as a player. I knew what I had done in the past, but that is the past so you have to go and prove yourself again. Hopefully I can get a run now. You have to be solid in this league. If you keep clean sheets you're more than likely going to win the game. We've got the quality in the final third to go and score goals, so if we keep the ball out the net at our end then we'll always have a chance. I think Saturday showed our mentality, to get that win. It was a long international break, ten days or whatever, and to keep that momentum was really important. We go into each game expecting to win now and if we can keep that run going it will help us. It's an amazing club to play for, a massive club, and everyone is lucky to play here. We want to get back up the leagues so we all have to do our jobs as individuals and a team - and hopefully we get there. It's been a really good week in terms of game time really; the international games have helped me coming into the weekend. We flew straight after the match in Norway and got back to Belfast at four in the morning, then flew the next day back to England. The travelling was a bit nuts, but I'm just glad I got my chance on Saturday. I just had one day to train when I got back. It was a light session, but I watched a few clips and caught up on the analysis the boys had done during the week coming into the game. I don't really mind where I play, to be honest, as long as I can get a chance. I played the middle of a three when I played against Norway in the middle of the week, so I'll play where I'm asked to and we have a strong squad with a lot of players who can play in different positions. Luke O'Nien is slotting in at left centre back as well, obviously Bailey Wright is a very good organiser so he helps us back there, Jack Diamond came on and did well and the squad is going to play its part all season. It's a long season, there's lads coming back now, so it's going to be stronger again, but when you come to a club like Sunderland and you expect competition. It's tough to get in the team and even tougher to stay there, so I just have to keep going now so obviously we'll have Flanno (Tom Flanagan) coming back now and we've got new signings so everyone will have to play their part. We have to remain together as a squad and we'll go far."