JON McLaughlin admits the manner of his departure from City has left a "bitter taste".

A lengthy association with the club, which began when they were relegated to League Two, ended abruptly this week when he joined Burton.

Four days after playing what turned out to be his final game against Shelbourne in Dublin, McLaughlin was lining up for a youthful Brewers side in a friendly at Derbyshire neighbours Mickleover Sports.

He kept a clean sheet in both – but then you'd expect that, given the standard of the opposition. What McLaughlin did not anticipate was how this summer has panned out.

"Right up to the other day, I didn't know what was happening," said the eloquent goalkeeper, who made the first of his 145 appearances in May 2009.

"Unfortunately it just seems as though I was left in the middle and waiting for a straight answer, which I never really got.

"It's not been nice and I think it was handled poorly. It got to the stage where I had to move on."

While other out-of-contract players re-signed, McLaughlin was the odd one out.

Phil Parkinson revealed that financial constraints had prevented both parties from striking the right deal. The budget, down £500,000 on a year ago, has made it a "difficult" summer, in the manager's words.

But McLaughlin balks at suggestions from some City fans that he had been stalling the club by holding out for more money.

"I saw what people were saying on message boards and internet forums, thinking that it must be the player making silly demands," he said.

"That was the most frustrating thing because it was never like that. But that's the way it ended up looking.

"The first contract I was offered, I never actually rejected it. The club made the offer but I wanted to speak to the gaffer in person first.

"I wanted to wait for pre-season but from that moment on there wasn't a contract waiting to sign.

"I wanted to stay and that was the reason I was in every day of pre-season and playing in all the games. I was really hoping to get something sorted to be there for next season.

"Unfortunately it's ended up that the best scenario for me was going to be having to move on. That's what I've had to do."

Jordan Pickford's arrival on a season-long loan from Sunderland at the start of the week prompted McLaughlin's decision to cut his ties with Valley Parade.

Burton boss Gary Rowett had made their interest known only a couple of days earlier – and the 26-year-old keeper felt that was his best course of action.

McLaughlin said: "All I could go off was what the gaffer was telling me about trying to get the deal sorted and wanting me to stay and be part of it again after having a good year last season.

"Then all of a sudden it came through they have agreed to sign someone else.

"I knew they would obviously need another goalkeeper but when you get one in on loan from a Premier League club, it's not difficult to read between the lines.

"It's been a great six or seven years I've been there. My entire career so far has been spent as a Bradford player and I've had a fantastic time at the club.

"I've improved a hell of a lot as a goalkeeper and look back with a lot of pride at everything we've done over the past couple of seasons.

"That's why it was not an easy move to make after being part of the club for so long. But it was the right time.

"It does leave a pretty bitter taste in the mouth, which is unfortunate after all the time I've spent there. Leaving on a sour note is not what I'd hoped for."

But Burton seems an appropriate change of scene. As opponents, they have been significantly linked to his City progress from rookie understudy to last season's ever-present first choice.

It was at the compact Pirelli Stadium where McLaughlin first made his name in the Bantams goal in March 2010.

Making only his third senior outing, and first under Peter Taylor, he immediately impressed the recently-installed boss by saving a Greg Pearson penalty.

That earned the post-match plaudits from Taylor – and the starting jersey for the next seven months.

But then City went back to Burton and lost 3-0, with McLaughlin blamed by his manager. He was axed until the new year.

His most recent game against the Brewers, though, remains the happiest memory – that unforgettable Sunday lunchtime in May last year when City overturned a first-leg deficit to clinch their play-off final place at Wembley.

McLaughlin said: "There is quite a connection, when you think about it. That game when I saved the penalty really triggered things for me with Peter Taylor.

"Then we had the semi-final two seasons ago and that was a great occasion.

"They have always been good games whenever I've been down there, so I knew that Burton are a good team. They are very competitive at this level. You've seen that when we played them in the semis and then getting to the final last year.

"The manager has made some good signings and I think they've strengthened over the summer. So it's a good club to be joining.

"I couldn't wait any longer and let a good deal pass me by. There were not going to be a lot of other opportunities coming up and I had to make a decision.

"It's been a crazy situation but I'm glad that I have been able to sort things out."