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Bantams keeper Jon McLaughlin keen to solve Rotherham conundrum
Jon McLaughlin admits that League One has been a “steep learning curve” for City.
As one of only two to have played every game, the keeper is perfectly qualified to judge the jump in standards since promotion 11 months ago.
But while City have had to take plenty on board in their higher surroundings, there is one lesson that still eludes them – how to beat Rotherham.
McLaughlin has played in five of the six successive defeats against the Millers. He knows the time to set the record straight is well overdue.
“Everyone knows everything that’s gone on with them and how desperate we always are to get a result against them,” he said.
“It would be fantastic for us to be able to give the fans finally something to shout about over there.
“That’s what we’ll be trying to do and we’ll give everything we’ve got.”
The City team lining up at the New York Stadium will be very different to the one brushed aside at Valley Parade on Boxing Day.
It was a team minus any loan player; City now have seven and Phil Parkinson is forced to juggle them to leave out two each week.
McLaughlin said: “Maybe that’s been an aspect of this season that’s been so different to last. We had such a settled squad.
“Dukey (Matt Duke) and I did a lot of chopping and changing but on the whole the back four and midfield was generally very settled.
“This time has been a little bit different but needs must when players get injured. The gaffer has the opportunity to bring in some very good loan players and the squad is evolving.
“But I think they’ve settled in well. We’re not weaker now than we were.
“The Premier League teams talk about needing time to gel when they bring in lots of new players. It’s not too dissimilar when you bring in loans, especially young lads because it can be difficult.
“I think they’ve all done a good job in integrating themselves.
“The lads here know how important it is to bond as a team. That was the key to us last year.
We’ve all tried to do that as quickly as possible and ended up with a good group of lads who are all playing together for the manager and the club.”
While Rotherham have already booked a play-off spot as they eye back-to-back promotions, City are still looking to rubberstamp their League One safety.
That was the initial goal for McLaughlin after six years in the basement division but he still reckons they should have done better.
“We spent a long time down in League Two and there wasn’t anyone left from the higher level days. It’s a new experience for all the lads with this club.
“It’s been a steep learning curve for everybody and we’ve seen it is a real step-up in class.
“There are no weak teams. We’ve realised that when we’ve played the ones at the bottom.
“The first target is to stay in the league. You don’t want to get relegated and everything’s been for nothing.
“That was the aim and we look like we’ve built a squad that is more than capable at this level. But we’re disappointed at where we are.”
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