Shamed duo Luke Oliver and Jon McLaughlin have vowed to pay back City and the fans for their “15 seconds of
Having served their three-game bans for the battle of Crawley, both are back in Phil Parkinson’s squad for the next stage of the race for survival at Northampton tomorrow.
And the players, who were fined two weeks’ wages, now want to put things right on the pitch.
McLaughlin may have to wait for his chance, with Matt Duke set to continue in goal at the club he was recalled from when the incident blew up.
He said: “It’s something we massively regret and we have to accept the consequences. Dukey has gone back in now and played well.
“We’re still not safe. There’s never a good time for this sort of thing to happen but it just compounded it that we’re in a real struggle to stay in this league.
It’s something we massively regret and we have to accept the consequencesJon McLaughlin
“We’ve got to work as hard as we can now to rebuild the faith and trust the gaffer had in us.
“Whatever happens, we need to get our heads down and work hard. The season is still not over so it’s important to focus completely on the football.”
McLaughlin attended the Football Association hearing at Wembley in midweek when City were hit with a £9,000 fine. But crucially they were not docked points and still sit seven clear of trouble with
four games left.
He added: “Although we’d been given our fines and suspension, we still had that FA charge hanging over us.
“That made it more difficult because we were desperate that the entire club wasn’t going to be punished severely, especially with talk of larger fines and points deductions. “That’s when you
realise the full extent of what you’ve done wrong.”
Oliver is the favourite to be named player of the year by supporters at the end of the month. The big centre half admitted he wished he could turn the clock back.
He said: “With hindsight, we would have walked straight off the pitch. It was just that split second when we didn’t think.
“The media coverage has been unbelievable. We could have beaten Crawley 7-0 and nobody would have batted an eyelid.
“But it was on TV all day, every day. It was quite surreal.
“It was such a negative looming over the club and hopefully Tuesday has drawn a line over it.
“The manager has been great with us. We did wrong and he made that clear but he’s also been very honest.
“We’ve served our bans and been given our fines and now we just want to move on.”
McLaughlin played for the reserves at Hull on Wednesday and Parkinson has been pleased with both in training.
The City chief said: “It’s been a bit hectic but we’ve got two good players coming back into the squad. They’ve done really well for us this season and looked bright.
“It was 15 seconds of mayhem out there that wasn’t good but let’s move on. They’ve paid the punishment and that’s it.
“Both want to play and the rest won’t have done them any harm, certainly with Olly.”
Aidy Boothroyd’s Northampton have taken 18 points from the last ten games – ten more than City over the same period – to move from bottom spot to the brink of safety.
City also want to put paid to a run of six straight away defeats, five of them without scoring.
Parkinson added: “Northampton have done really well and we are up against a form team.
“On our travels of late, we’ve had so many nearly stories but nearly is not good enough.
“We’ve got to turn those decent performances into points. We’ve had some gilt-edged chances but haven’t taken them.
“If the goals don’t come, we’ve got to get a clean sheet. But as always we’ll be working hard to score.
“We’ve always tried to play on the front foot whatever system we use.
“And we must keep believing that if we approach the game positively, as we do, we’ll get the right result.”